DCE 202 Dance in U.S. Popular Culture


DCE 202 Dance in U.S. Popular Culture
Arizona State University Criteria Checklist for
Rationale and Objectives
The humanities disciplines are concerned with questions of human existence and meaning, the nature of
thinking and knowing, with moral and aesthetic experience. The humanities develop values of all kinds by
making the human mind more supple, critical, and expansive. They are concerned with the study of the
textual and artistic traditions of diverse cultures, including traditions in literature, philosophy, religion,
ethics, history, and aesthetics. In sum, these disciplines explore the range of human thought and its
application to the past and present human environment. They deepen awareness of the diversity of the
human heritage and its traditions and histories and they may also promote the application of this knowledge
to contemporary societies.
The study of the arts and design, like the humanities, deepens the student’s awareness of the diversity of
human societies and cultures. The fine arts have as their primary purpose the creation and study of objects,
installations, performances and other means of expressing or conveying aesthetic concepts and ideas.
Design study concerns itself with material objects, images and spaces, their historical development, and
their significance in society and culture. Disciplines in the fine arts and design employ modes of thought
and communication that are often nonverbal, which means that courses in these areas tend to focus on
objects, images, and structures and/or on the practical techniques and historical development of artistic and
design traditions. The past and present accomplishments of artists and designers help form the student’s
ability to perceive aesthetic qualities of art work and design.
The Humanities, Fine Arts and Design are an important part of the General Studies Program, for they
provide an opportunity for students to study intellectual and imaginative traditions and to observe and/or
learn the production of art work and design. The knowledge acquired in courses fulfilling the Humanities,
Fine Arts and Design requirement may encourage students to investigate their own personal philosophies or
beliefs and to understand better their own social experience. In sum, the Humanities, Fine Arts and Design
core area enables students to broaden and deepen their consideration of the variety of human experience.
Revised October 2008
Humanities and Fine Arts [HU]
Page 2
Proposer: Please complete the following section and attach appropriate documentation.
HUMANITIES, FINE ARTS AND DESIGN [HU] courses must meet either 1, 2, or 3 and at least one of
the criteria under 4 in such a way as to make the satisfaction of these criteria A CENTRAL AND
SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of the course content.
Official Course
Syllabus, TOC in
1. Emphasize the study of values, of the development of
Course Textbook
philosophies, religions, ethics or belief systems, and/or aesthetic
and Example of
Unit Materials,
Example chapter
from Text
2. Concerns the comprehension and interpretation/analysis of
written, aural, or visual texts, and/or the historical development
of textual traditions.
3. Concerns the comprehension and interpretation/analysis of
material objects, images and spaces, and/or their historical
Official Course
Syllabus, TOC in
4. In addition, to qualify for the Humanities, Fine Arts and Design
Course Textbook
designation a course must meet one or more of the following
and Example of
Unit Materials,
Example chapter
from text
a. Concerns the development of human thought, including
emphasis on the analysis of philosophical and/or religious
systems of thought.
b. Concerns aesthetic systems and values, literary and visual arts.
c. Emphasizes aesthetic experience in the visual and performing
arts, including music, dance, theater, and in the applied arts,
including architecture and design.
d. Deepen awareness of the analysis of literature and the
development of literary traditions.
Official Course
Syllabus, TOC in
Course Textbook
and Example of
Unit Materials and
example chapter
from Text
Humanities and Fine Arts [HU]
Page 3
Courses devoted primarily to developing a skill in the creative
or performing arts, including courses that are primarily studio
classes in the Herberger College of the Arts and in the College
of Design.
Courses devoted primarily to developing skill in the use of a
language – However, language courses that emphasize
cultural study and the study of literature can be allowed.
Courses which emphasize the acquisition of quantitative or
experimental methods.
Courses devoted primarily to teaching skills.
Humanities and Fine Arts [HU]
Page 4
Course Prefix
Dance in US Popular Culture
Explain in detail which student activities correspond to the specific designation criteria.
Please use the following organizer to explain how the criteria are being met.
Criteria (from checksheet)
How course meets spirit
(contextualize specific examples
in next column)
Please provide detailed
evidence of how course meets
criteria (i.e., where in syllabus)
1. Emphasizes the study of values,
of the development of philosophies,
religions, ethics or belief systems,
and/or aesthetic experience
Dance registers the values of a
culture. By highlighting the social
spaces in which dance occurs, as
well as the dress, macro and micro
contexts, aesthetic movement
qualities and ideals, gender roles,
and who is permitted to dance
values, etc, students cultivate and
awareness of how ethics and belief
systems are revealed through the
embodied aesthetic experience of
dance in US poular culture.
Official Course Description.
Course Organization,
Course Description,
Course Goals: 1, 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3,
Syllabus pg 6: Reading
Course Text Table of Contents
Unit #4 Example including:
Objectives, Introduction,
Questions for Consideration,
Reading & Viewing
Assignments, Discussion Board
Topic: Aesthetics and Politics
4.c. Emphasizes aesthetic
experience in the visual and
performing arts, including music,
dance, theater, and in the applied
arts, including architecture and
By emphasizing the aesthetic
experiences of dance we see
diverse contributions to what has
developed into "Dance in (US)
Popular Culture" throughout the
past 110 years. This course
highlights the aesthetic experience
through providing socio-historic
contexts for the dance and diverse
perspective on dance through
utilizing various textual and video
Official Course Description.
Course Organization,
Course Description,
Course Goals: 1, 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3,
Syllabus pg 6: Reading
Course Text Table of Contents
Official Course Description.
Course Organization,
Course Description,
Course Goals: 1, 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3,
Syllabus pg 6: Reading
Course Text Table of Contents,
Unit #4 Example including:
Objectives, Introduction,
Questions for Consideration,
Reading & Viewing
Assignments, Discussion Board
Topic: Aesthetics and Politics
Humanities and Fine Arts [HU]
Page 5
DCE 294: DANCE IN US POPULAR CULTURE FALL 2013 #90705 10/16-12/6
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Course Organization
DCE/THE 294: Dance in US Popular Culture is a one-semester dance humanities course. In this
course we explore ways in which dance in U.S. popular culture is a site where social, political, cultural,
economic and ideological realities are reflected, negotiated and at times re-envisioned and reconfigured. Following the required reading and videos, the course surveys time periods of dance from
the late 1800s through the 20th century to the present day. Throughout we maintain a central focus
between the relationship of dance as both a producer and product of unique social and cultural spaces.
PART 1/Units 1-2: Pre-20 Century-1910s
PART 2/Units 3-4: 1910s-1940s
PART 3/Units 5-6: 1950s-1970s
PART 4/Units 7-8: 1980s-present
Commented [MG(1]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
HU4c: Emphasis on aesthetic experience in dance.
Commented [MG(2]: HU1: Study of cultural values,
belief systems/aesthetic experience
Within each part, there are readings, viewings, discussion boards, quizzes and four writing
assignments. Please read the syllabus carefully for all guidelines and due dates!
Course Description
Investigates vital cultural heritages that have shaped dance in U.S. American popular culture from 20th
century to the present. Emphasis on dance as a producer of social space and cultural identity, as well as
a reflection of diverse social realities and dynamics of power. Following your required reading and
videos, the course surveys time periods of dance from the late 1800s through the 20th century to the
present day.
Course Goals
1. Students will have an appreciation of dance in popular U.S. culture as a site where social,
political, cultural, economic and ideological realities are reflected, negotiated and at times reenvisioned and re-configured.
2. Students will develop a key awareness of how diverse aesthetic values and cultural heritages
have shaped popular culture dance practices from 20th Century to the present
Learning Outcomes
1. Students will be able to identify how contemporary trends in U.S. social, popular and
vernacular dance are broadly based cultural phenomena that interact with hegemonic power to
produce the popular culture of the time (20th Century to present)
2. Students will demonstrate connections between dance and identities, civic engagement, social
change, morality, changing media and technologies, politics, fashion, immigration, arts and
3. Students will be able to visually discriminate select styles and trends of dance in popular
culture throughout the 20th Century to the present
Commented [MG(3]: HU1: Study of cultural values,
belief systems/aesthetic experience
Commented [MG(4]: HU1: Study of cultural values,
belief systems/aesthetic experience
Commented [MG(5]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
HU4c: Emphasis on aesthetic experience in dance.
Commented [MG(6]: HU1: Study of belief systems
Commented [MG(7]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
HU4c: Emphasis on aesthetic experience in dance.
Commented [MG(8]: HU4c: Emphasis aesthetic
experience in dance.
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Attendance Policy: Although this course is web delivered, it is neither automated nor self-paced. You
are expected to log in daily M-F and engage in all assignments (readings/viewings, discussions,
quizzes, and written assessments). If you are not present and engaged, that means responding to course
content, classmates and myself, for a period of two Units of work, whether episodic or concurrent, you
will be Withdrawn from the course for Excessive Missed Assignments. To access the class website and
materials, you can use your personal computer, one in the library, and/or computer labs at ASU. Tech
challenges are not an acceptable excuse for missed work.
Disclaimer: Course material is intended for an “adult” audience who can maturely handle discussions
regarding such topics as race, gender, sexuality, and politics. If you feel you will have difficulty with
this course content, please discuss possible alternatives with the instructor.
Technical Know-How: You have elected to take a web-based course and this assumes that you
understand how to use the internet, Blackboard (BB), email, and troubleshoot technical difficulties.
Regular access to a computer/internet/email/BB is required for this class. If you do not have home
computer access, please be sure to check the campus computers daily. You must make sure that you
have updated programs and software since the most current versions of Adobe Reader, PowerPoint,
Microsoft Word, and other media programs are needed. If you don’t have these programs updated, or
your computer is a bit outdated, you must find a computer on your own or go to the computer
commons. You are responsible for making sure all is in working order.
Your Instructor and How to Reach Me
Because the course is on-line, the first and best way to reach me, your instructor, is via e-mail. During
the course, I check and respond to messages and emails at least once a day (Monday – Friday), unless
circumstances prevent this, in which case I will post an announcement to that effect. If you do not hear
from me 24 hours after you sent your first message/email, please send another. In addition, I am
available to meet with you in person at my office in West Hall Room 238 by appointment.
My email is: [email protected]
Required Textbook
1. Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader
Edited by Julie Malnig. University of Illinois UP, 2009.
A. Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference, Volume Two: Lindy Hop to Hip Hop 1901
-2000 by Ralph Giordano, Greenwood Press. Westport, 2007.
B. Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance by Marshall and Jean Stearns. Da Capo
Press. New York, 1994.
Available from ASU Bookstore or on-line booksellers. The Malnig text is the only one that is
Required Film Viewing Sources (All are provided as web links within the course).
Commented [MT9]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
philosophies , aesthetic experience HU4c: Emphasis
aesthetic experience in dance.
Commented [MG(10]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
Commented [MG(11]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
HU4c: Emphasis on aesthetic experience in dance.
DCE 294: DANCE IN US POPULAR CULTURE FALL 2013 #90705 10/16-12/6
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How to Do Well in this Course (A Weekly Plan)
Dance in Popular Culture is a course that engages its topic with academic rigor and interest. As such,
it requires a lot of work from students: keeping up with the readings, film viewings, as well as other
research and completing Discussion Boards, quizzes and preparing four written Review Assignments.
At the same time it provides an intriguing window into the relationships among dance, history, identity
and changing cultural dynamics of the United States that will enrich your experience and
understandings of dance and US popular culture.
To do well in the course, here’s what I suggest as a good plan of work for you to follow each week:
1. At the start of each Part, click on the appropriate Unit number and read the Unit Objectives, Introductions to
the material, Questions and DB topics. Reflect on these as you do the reading/viewing assignments. Read
“Announcements” posted by your instructor.
2. Read the assigned text, view the assigned films and, as time permits, any recommended readings, or film
viewings. Take notes. Pay particular attention to where the course content engages the questions I have posed
for you to think about in each Unit. Take notes on these questions, as your Quizzes and Written Review
Assignments at the end of each Unit and Part, will be related to/and or may be selected directly from these
3. Respond to your Discussion Board prompts on-time (per schedule in the syllabus) with Initial and Follow-up
posts as detailed in DB section of your syllabus. Your Discussion Board responses must utilize specific
reference to the course materials.
4. Post your responses according to the criteria and by the deadlines listed on the course schedule.
5. You will have a quiz at the end of each Unit. Complete the quiz before the deadline.
6. Prepare and submit your Written Response Assignments according to the criteria and by the deadlines listed
on the course schedule.
Course Assignments: Description and Grade Bases
1. Syllabus Check-in Quiz: 20 points
You must submit this quiz no later than by 11:59pm on the first day of class to receive credit and proceed in the class. If
you fail to take the Syllabus quiz, you will be Withdrawn form the course as Never Attended.
2. Discussion Board: 8 Unit postings @ 15 points each, for a maximum 120 points
Over the course of the semester, 8 topics related to each Unit will be posted. To try for the maximum points possible, post
your initial response and two follow-up responses on-time and according to specifications laid out in the syllabus and
grading rubric. NOTE: You must also post substantive follow-up responses to receive full credit.
To receive full credit for your Discussion Board postings follow this criteria:
Your initial post (250 – 300 words minimum) and MUST include references to the course readings and viewings
to receive full credit. I am interested in hearing your critical take on the course materials. What do you think?
Responses to the Discussion Board are less formal than the Review Assignments, but are “substantive.” A
substantive post is thoughtful, developed and connected to the course material.
Your two follow-up posts are in response to other students’ or my questions/comments or to the guiding
question. This should also be substantive; however, it need only be approximately 80-100 words in length. “I
agree” is NOT a substantive post. Do not simply re-iterate what another student has posted either. If you agree or
disagree, you must explain why thoroughly. This is the place to workshop your ideas and receive feedback.
You must follow all posting deadlines to receive credit. Generally, Initial Posts are due every Tuesday by 11:59
pm. Follow-up Posts are due on two different days, but no later than Wednesday 11:59pm & Thursday
11:59pm. Please consult the course calendar in your syllabus for exact dues dates/times.
****Please Note: There are exceptions to this schedule. Always consult your syllabus calendar pg 5***
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Please Note: The discussion board is a place to dialogue with each other, not necessarily to provide a “correct” answer to
me. It is your responsibility to be active in the discussion boards; my engagement is mainly to help guide you in reference
to the core themes, however if I do pose a question to you- you must respond to receive full credit. Please remember that in
the discussion boards you must follow the community college rules. Always keep your posts constructive and respectful;
avoid profanity and personal attacks. (Internet slang such as “LOL,” smiley faces, etc. are fine). Offensive posts will be
removed without credit and disciplinary action may be taken.
Note: you may post more often than required, but the maximum points possible remains 120. I will dock points for answers
that are inappropriate or do not sufficiently address the question asked.
3. Weekly Unit Quizzes: 8 at 15 points each, for a maximum of 120 points
At the end of each Unit you will take a quiz, which will consist of a mix of ten true/false, multiple choice, and/or fill in the
blank questions worth 1 point each, followed by a short answer question of 5 points. EACH quiz is worth 15 points. These
are open-book and open-site, however you have ONLY two opportunities to take each quiz. Quizzes must be completed by
the due date. They will be unlocked for a period of approximately 48 hours each week & must be completed during this
3. Written Assignments: 4 at 60 points each, for a maximum 240 points
After the end of each of the four major Parts you will turn in a written assignment responding to questions, most of which
are from those raised in the online Unit Introductions and Questions. You will need to respond to a total of four selected
questions for each Part’s Review Assignment. Each question is worth 15 points, for a maximum of 60 points per
assignment. These are open-book and open-site. (see full guidelines under the “Written Assignments”).
Tip: As you do each reading and watch each video, take notes on the questions offered, and draft your answers as you
go. This will save you a lot of last-minute scrambling, improve the clarity and quality of your thought, and result in a
higher grade
4. Extra Credit: No extra credit offered.
Four Written Review Assignments are due throughout the course of the semester, one for each major Part we cover.
Here’s what you need to do for each one:
General Guidelines for Writing and Turning in Your Work
1. At the end of each Part, go to the Written Assignment page.
2. In this assignment you will write and word-process a 3-5 paragraph response (375 word minimum-500 word
maximum) to each question listed. There are a total of 4 questions in each assignment and each requires a 3-5
paragraph response (375-500 words).
PLEASE Make sure number AND include the question itself at the beginning of each response, as
sometimes you will be given a choice regarding which questions you would like to respond to.
Objectives for this assignment:
Use your own words to survey and analyze examples from course content (text or film). BE SPECIFIC.
Do cite your sources. Brief quotes can help strengthen your work. This analysis will take the form of a
short essay that responds to the selected questions. The mode of response could take any of the following
forms appropriate to each question posed:
i. - debating different view points that are illustrated in course content.
ii. –analyzing aesthetics examples of dance movement (both physical and socio-cultural).
iii. –comparing and differentiating examples in reference to key points raised by the question.
iv. –investigating further examples that strengthen or refute a perspective raised in course content.
Commented [MG(12]: HU1: Study of belief systems
Commented [MG(13]: HU1: Values/development of
aesthetic experience
Commented [MT14]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies
HU4c: Emphasis on aesthetic experience in dance.
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NOTE: You may also include examples from outside of class and are encouraged to do so, however, take care to
primarily engage the course content as this is the content you are responsible for.
These responses will graded primarily on your ability to critically analyze and engage course
content and secondarily on your writing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity- Proofread,
Proofread, Proofread!). If the grammar and/or lack of proofreading and/or organization make it
too difficult to read, however, you will not receive credit. Please consult the rubric provided for
specific grading details.
When you include quoted material from the textbook, other sources from our class, or additional readings and
films you wish to consult, be sure to cite these sources – including your textbook -- using proper academic
documentation (such as footnotes or parenthetical citations) in either MLA, APA or Chicago Style. As previously
noted, for your textbook ONLY it is acceptable to use author last name and page number without need for full
citation. Each Written Review Assignment will have four responses total.
Once you have completed your local copy of the word-processed document, SAVE IT in .doc format before you
post it. I recommend you keep a copy of the document, along with a record of your submission, until the end of
the semester. Without these two items, I cannot trace missing assignments.
To post your assignment:
Click on the Assignments page
Attach your work as a .doc WORD DOC (not docx, not rtf, not pdf) and save a copy for yourself!
Submit it.
A 450-500 pts.
B 400-450 pts.
Grade Breakdown
C 350-400 pts.
D 325-350 pts.
E 324 pts. and below
Turning in Your Work
All assignments are completed online.
For Review Assignments: Type each question before each answer.
Discussion Board and Review Assignments, should be submitted following these instructions:
1. Type your answer in a word processing program (Word,WordPerfect, etc.). Be sure to cite your sources, including your
textbook (for citations from your textbook: the author’s last name and page number is sufficient). For any external sources
you choose to consult, you must include full citation in proper format (MLA, APA, Chicago).
2. Save your work in a local file that you can edit prior to the final submission.
3. Submit your entry via the website under the proper link (Discussion Board/Review Assignments), by copying and
pasting your text into the textbox. I strongly recommend that you keep copies of all documents for the duration of the
semester (this way if something gets lost it is not a big deal to re-send. In addition, please double check that you submitted
your responses successfully).
Checking Your Grades
You may check your grade and read comments under each specific assignments on the course website. Be sure to check the
Assignment Rubrics for guidelines and grade breakdowns.
Policy on Academic Integrity
I have a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism in this class.
The definition of "Plagiarism" below is copied from the following website and is included for your reference here.
DCE 294: DANCE IN US POPULAR CULTURE FALL 2013 #90705 10/16-12/6
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In order to avoid plagiarism, your papers must provide full citations for all references: direct quotes,
paraphrased summaries, or borrowed ideas. You cannot use other people’s work without citing it.
This includes the work of your peers. Work from other courses will not be accepted in this course
without explicit, prior permission of instructor. Allowing your writing to be copied by another student
is also considered cheating. Please review the Student Code of Conduct for complete guidelines on
academic honesty
I run periodic spot checks comparing student work with each others’, with the work of students in other sections of
this class (past and present), and with external sources. So don’t do it. Don’t even think about doing it, as the
MINIMUM consequence is failure in the class, with a designation of Academic Dishonesty as the reason. You could
also be expelled.
Weekly Reading Assignment Schedule (Viewing Schedule Listed inside Course Unit online)
PART I: Assigned Reading: Units 1-2: 1900-Early 1910s
Unit # 1: Introductions: Week 1 (10/16-10/19)
1. “Introduction” by Julie Malnig (1-15)
Unit # 2: Ballroom, Cakewalk, Animal Dances and Ragtime (Pre-20th Century-1910s): Week 2 (10/20-10/26)
1.“The Civilizing of America’s Ballrooms/The Revolutionary War to 1890” by Elizabeth Aldrich. (36-52)
2. “ ‘Just Like Being at the Zoo’/Primitivity and Ragtime Dance” by Nadine George-Graves. (55-69).
PART II: Assigned Reading: Units 3-4: 1920s- 1940s
Unit #3: Charleston, Flappers, and Jazz (1910s-1920s): Week 3 (10/27-11/2)
1.“Apaches, Tangos, and Other Indecencies/Women, Dance, and New York Nightlife of the 1910’s” by Julie
Malnig. (72-86)
2. “ ‘A Thousand Raggy, Draggy Dances’/ Social Dance in Broadway Musical Comedy in the 1920’s” by Barbara
Cohen-Stratyner. (217-232)
Unit # 4: Depression Era Dance Marathons, Swing: The Savoy & Lindy Hop (1920/30s-1940s): Week 4 (11/3-11/10)
1. “Reality Dance/ American Dance Marathons” by Carol Martin. (93-107)
2. “Negotiating Compromise on a Burnished Wood Floor/ Social Dancing at the Savoy”by Karen Hubbard and
Terry Monaghan. (126-142)
PART III: Assigned Reading: Units 5-6: 1950s- 1970s
Unit # 5: Mambo (1950s): Week 5 (11/10-11/16)
1. “Embodying Music/Disciplining Dance/ The Mambo Body in Havana and New York City” by David F. Garcia.
2. “From Mambo to Hip Hop”
Unit # 6: (1950s-1960s) Rock 'n' Roll & Changing Technology: Radio to TV and Music Video: Week 6 (11/17-11/23)
1. “Rocking Around the Clock/Teenage Dance Fads from 1955 to 1965” by Tim Wall. (182-195)
2. "From Busby Berkeley to Madonna: Music Video and Popular Dance" by Sherril Dodds (247-259)
PART IV: Assigned Reading Units 7-8: 1980s- present
Unit # 7: Disco and House: Week 7 (11/25-11/30)
1. “C’mon to My House: Underground House Dancing” by Sally Sommer (285-298)
2. “Beyond the Hustle: 1970s Social Dancing, Discotheque Culture, and the Emergence of the Contemporary Club
Dance” by Tim Lawrence (199-212)
Unit # 8: Hip Hop to Krump: Week 8 (12/1-12/6)
1. “The Multiringed Cosmos of Krumping: Hip-Hop Dance at the Intersections of Battle, Media, and Spirit” by
Christina Zanfanga (337-350).
Commented [MT15]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT16]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT17]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT18]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT19]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT20]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT21]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
Commented [MT22]: HU 1: Study of belief systems,
cultural values, philosophies HU4c: Empasis on aesthetic
experience in dance.
DCE 294: DANCE IN US POPULAR CULTURE FALL 2013 #90705 10/16-12/6
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Course Schedule and Due Dates
PART I: Units 1-2: 1900-Early 1910s
Wednesday October 16: Class begins.
Wednesday October 16: DUE: Syllabus Quiz DUE by 11:59pm Initial Post Discussion Board Responses Unit 1
Thursday, October 17: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 1 and 2
Friday, October 18: DUE: Unit 1 Quiz
Tuesday, October 22: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Responses Unit 2
Wednesday, October 23: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 1
Thursday, October 24: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 2
Friday, October 25: DUE: Unit 2 Quiz
Sunday, October 27: DUE: PART I Written Review Assignment covering Units 1 and 2.
PART II: Units 3-4: 1920s- 1940s
Tuesday, October 29: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Response Unit 3
Wednesday, October 30: DUE: Follow-up Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 1
Thursday, October 31: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 2
Friday, November 1: DUE: Unit 3 Quiz
Tuesday, November 5: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Responses Unit 4
Wednesday, November 6: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-up 1
Thursday, November 7: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-up 2
Friday, November 8: DUE: Unit 4 Quiz
Sunday, November 10: DUE: PART II Review Assignment covering Units 3 and 4.
PART III: Units 5-6: 1950s- 1970s
Tuesday, November 12: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Response Unit 5
Wednesday, November 13: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 1
Thursday, November 14: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 2
Friday November 15: DUE: Unit 5 Quiz
Tuesday, November 19: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Responses Unit 6
Wednesday, November 20: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-up 1
Thursday, November 21: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 2
Friday, November 22: DUE: Unit 6 Quiz (NOTE: This quiz will be open by 11/19 for you to take early if you so choose)
Sunday, November 24: DUE: PART III Review Assignment covering Units 5 and 6.
PART IV: Units 7-8: 1980s- present
Tuesday, November 26: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Response Unit 7
Wednesday, November 27: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-Up 1 AND 2
Thursday, November 28: DUE: HAPPY DAY OFF! Thanksgiving Day
Friday, November 29: DUE: Unit 7 Quiz
Tuesday, December 3: DUE: Initial Discussion Board Responses Unit 8
Wednesday, December 4: DUE: Discussion Board Responses Follow-up 1
Thursday, December 5: Discussion Board Responses Follow-up 2
Friday, December 6: Unit 8 Quiz AND PART IV Review Assignment covering Units 7 and 8.
Friday, December 6: Class ends.
Although Extra Credit is not offered, please note: I do this to take into consideration the arc of your work and
improvement throughout the class.
i :
Introdnction / JulieMalnir
L our Nationat poetry / The Afro_Chesapeake
' of AmericanDance
Jurctta Jodan Heckscher
, r-
\Jnl i '
2. The( ivitr,,iiSot Amen(d\ Ba room\
w a rtorse o ro
Elizabeth ALtich
i. " T u\ l L i k F B e i n gd , th F ,/o o / p ri mi rrvi l ydnd R d8rj me
D dnce
Nadne ctorye-Gaves
Tangos,and OtherInalecencies
/ Women,Dance,
and NewYorkNightlifeof ih€ rgros
lutie Malnis
s E ( | t oN
thF Re\otuhonar)
/ r\' o t\tN c s ry l Es
5. Reali q D a n (e / A m e ri ,a n D a n ,e Mardrhon\
Carcl Mattin
o. t he t r i J n o n d n d O n / R e d d i n gMd s fu(i dt
D dnr i n8 i n l he
r o?osj n d ro 4 o si n q tb e rl d .C d n d d d
Lisa Dooliftte
v 4lr
7. NegotiaringCompromiseon a Bumish€dWooduoor
SocialDancingat the Savoy 126
K&n Hubbad dn.1TerryMonaghan
s n|',rnlulhen dnd Nos
' \l@m1eDdkiet
-.--1 =
The Mambo BodY
o. Lm b o d y i n gM u \i L /D i \(i p l i n i n S D d nce /
dnd\ew Y o4t ir''os
i n Hd'land
U n lf3
Da1)n F Garcia
, r - ;,f-, -.-.
V'l l ll L,
Dancelads iiom
Rocking Around tbe Clock / Teenage
r8 2
r gs 5 to ro o 5
Tim Wall
D i \Lol hequeI ul l ure'
[ . B e\ o n d l h e H u ' l re / ro T o ' 5 (](ra l DdncrnS
( l Lbndn(el
anl l h e fme rs e n L eo l l h e c o n te mpordty
DraggvDanceJ'/ SocialDanc€in Broadwav
12."A ThousandRaggy,
Musicalcomeatvin the r92os "t
Uu t t T
13.FromBharataNatvamto Bop / JackCole's"Modern"
Co,1st'tnce Hitt
-:- ,J, ':
r4. I rom Bu\bvberrele\ro Madonnd/ Mt'\i'
lopularDance )47
{.o sherdlDod.1'
Hip-Hop or
15 The Danc€ tuchaeology of RennieHarris /
Postmodern? 26r
Hzlifu osumare
rel "c'mon to wy nouse" / UndergroundHouse
5al1!R sonner
rlDancins Latin/L;tin Dancing / Salsaand Dancesport
r8. Louisiana Guilbo / Ret€ntion, Creolization, and Innovation in
Contcmporary Caiun and Zydcco Danc€
May C itl \\tdggalLcr
Multiringcd Cosmosof Krumling / Hip Hop Dance at thc
un lf 19. The
Intersectionsof Batlle, Medla, and Spirit
Chtistitla Za fapa
r99 -
A Socialand Popular
Edited by
lulie Malnig
University of Illinois Press
Urbana and Chicago
lulie Malnig
In the late r97os, when the field of popular entertainment was struggling
for legitimacy, noted performance scholar Brooks McNamara made a plea
to historians to examine not only the "great moments" in theater history,
but those less well-documented theatrical occasions, sometimes hidden in
the recessesof culture where scholars had seldom tread. This traditional
approach to studying the theatrical past, suggestedMcNamara, ,,leavesthe
student with the impression that a kind of mysterious hierarchy of performance exists,crowned by'greatest achievements'which tower over a series
of unrelated and vaguely defined 'minor forms' and crude folkish attempts
at theatre."l This "tidy viewf, toward history, he noted, overlooked howry"
"performance in a culture during a given period is certainly no less than
the sum of all its parts."2
In many respects,McNamara's observations about the status of popular
entertainments reflected a similar situation in the study of social, vernacular,
and popular dance, considered a kind of poor relation within the scholarly
hierarchy. until fairly recently, the traditional periodization of dance studies
neglected these forms, favoring instead the study of concert dance and wellknown dancersand choreographers.perhapsbecausedance, as scholarsEllen
W. Goellner and Geraldine SheaMurphy point out, was for so long ,,viewed
as unintellectual, intuitive, and uncritically expressive,,,3the ,,greatestmoments" approach was understandable asthe field struggled to establish itself
and legitimize its own history. Part of this omission, too, stemmed from the
long-standing bias within the academy generally (asMcNamara recognized),
toward "high" versus "low" forms of entertainment. And to be fair, the lack
of sustainedattention to the study of social and popular dance forms reflected the fact that in the r97os and early r9gos, much of this history had
yet to be written.
Thankfully, though, this landscape is changing. The widespread efforts
in the r98os to expand the traditional literary, artistic, and historical canons
carried over into dance studies, in which there has been much rethinking
and theorize about dance' Also'
of how we critique, conceptualize'
*" have seen a flourishing of
the rast ten to fifteenl"ur,
who have been
forms' the result
vetnacular, u,,Opop"la' dance
of excavation and analysis In
engaged in an ongoing process
in new'
tatingihe time to steep ourselves
:-'torms ",f
, this has meant
understand and assess
to develop
social contexts'a
I within their larger cultural and
on the history of American exhibition
Although my 1987dissertation
kind of sideline
with skepticism by some as a
ballroom dance was viewed
studies on
encouragedto produce' anall'tical
students ur" p,oA"ti"g, u"a ut"
from break dancing to
i"O popular dance-relatedtopics
a wide range of
have emerged
severarinfluential anthologies
raves.sArso, in the past a".ui"
dance' inexclusively on social and popular
which, although not focused
Dance in the
subiect' such as Helen Thom as's
clude signiflcant essayson the
On and
City, JaneC. Desmond 's Dancing
Offthe Stage,andl'homas F
punk rock' to
suUlectsfrom club culture' to
pioneering Uoot"put"ing
competitive ballroom dance"
dance scholarship and the new
Buoyed by the boom in critical
a commitment
maiority of these works share is
in cultural studies, what the
dance as inteexploring
our investigations
to expanding the borders of
gral to cultural practice' Ballroom'
ongoing inquiries. My aims
popular DanceReaderintends to add to these
for further research and to make
essays)ur" to p'o"iJ" a platform
cultural significance
more concerted study of the
forms within the college dance
such a large and
Becausesocial danJe covers
:wTpinCtlstorical an aninvatiably be selective in compiling
geographic t"nuin, o"" fttlst
of American
focus is.on the secular tradition
thology of this t""' ttnt-Otn
p"t'tit in a variety of social
qncial dance performed Uy ttre
the early
the late eighteenth century through
jstreet-from upp'*'*ut"ly
are twofold: to explore
it'" broad goals of the Reader
a result of the rich
ut'd popular dance developed as
iiarious styles of
Caribbean and
United States'Canada' and the
can forms of dance within the
ce. -\lso, over
ing on social,
ho have been
D many cas6Jl
ss these forms .il
an exhibition
nd of sideline
more doctoral
bl studies on
ali dancing to
have emerged
iLardance, inis Dsnce in the
slities On and
ibuted several
punk rock, to
e new interest
dance as intee: ,1 Socialand
ries. My aims
rcpular dance
make possible
and ballroom
historical and
piling an ann of American
d recreation4l
ptheques, the
xrgh the early
rld: to explore
ult of the rich
d Latin AmeriCaribbeanand
to analyze these dance forms within their wider social, political, cultural,
and economic contexts.Although it is not possible,of course,to include all
of the many stylistic variations of these dances, the collection nonetheless
spotlights some particularly key dance forms and phenomena and considers
the reasonsfor their cultural resonanceand appeal.
The anthology is divided into four sections: "Historical Precedents,"
"Evolving Styles," "Theatricalizations of Social Dance Forms," and "The
contemporary Scene."Many of the issuesand concerns central to one section, however, spill over into others' Therefore readersare urged to seek
out connections betlveen chapters, beyond their categorical groupings. The
approach is not meant to suggest a neat or orderly
from the Cakewalk to hip-hop, but rather to cori;":
these dance forms are; how old World and New ""
sider how n-lullifa-c-et-ed
World forms have collided, borrowed from, and added to one another
-in ;
a dynamic and constantly evolving processof invention and changeJThe
chaptersthemselvesaim to merge close,physical description of the dances
with contextual, cultural analysis. I asked authors to consider the "fabric"
of the dances-Who performed them? How? In what contexts?And under
what social and historical circumstances?-and to locate how those dances
are embeddedwithin the existing conventions and "codes" goveming that
culture'sunderstandingsof movement and the body.8
In recognizing social and popular dance both as ?n !x!eri:.n!q o[.pqve- ment and as "a form of l!!e or as a way of being," in dance sociologist Antiti- waia;i woras/ these chapters adopt a wide range of strategies,many
used in combination, that university students are now apt to encounter in
the course of their studies in dance history and theory. These include genre
and stylistic analysis, anthropological analysis, sociocultural analysis, social
history, theories of popular culture and mass leisure, intertextual analysis,
race and gender theory, transnational analysis, and ritual theory, among
others. This diversity of approaches speaks,in part, to the increasing interdisciplinarity of dance studies and, in part, to the need for more sustained
attention to social and popular dance topics in related disciplines.lo
A particularly underexplored relationship has been that between,so-cial.
both of which historically have been inextricably linked.
Although the majority of contributors are dance historians, dance anthropologists, and performance Studiesscholars, severalare scholars and writers
from the areasof ethnomusicology and mass media studies. Far too often,
dance scholars have de-emphasizedthe role of music, and musicologists
(who have examined forms such as salsa,mambo, and hip-hop) have not
the connections between those musical
looked as closely as they might at
of the
possible by the rhythmic variations
forms and how they u'"
toward bridging that gap'
dances.I hope these chaptels gesture
A Few Wordsabout Form and Terms
used interchangeably and
a,l.tl"'LvernVcular,"and " pg,pttlar" are
The labe[ ]ls,.o-c-!
literature' Without becoming overly
often inconsistently in the social dance
the ways that we may understand these
prescriptive (our authors expressbest
tttoughts about how I have conceptualized
distinctions), I do offer a few trritt
differences' Part of the difficulty in
many similarities yet maintain important
is that it is constantly in flux' New
pinning down social and popular dance
what may have been consideredelitist
forms spring up; others disappear;and
become "pop.ltlar" or widely heralded'11'
in one generation, in ttre next may
of communities and subcultures
the sel-99that they'springfiqm*tl1g lifebl'ood
cultural and social networkifrr'
g.n"rarrv tear"siior***i1y'1through
i*.g4 are
which has been crucial to the story
describing the black vernacular tradition'
Malone seesit as "an evolving
of American social dance, dance scholarJacqui
production'"lz She quotes Ralph Eltradition and a vital processof cultural
the most refined styles fromth^e pas:'":"
to it-:"asa dynamic procbssin which
improvisations'"13,In '
ciiiitinuatly merged with the play-it-bJ-eye-and-by-ear
draw on and embellish existing forms
the vernacular tradition, performers
of movement repertoire" emetging from
out of a group's "shared knowledge
its geographyand social circumstance'l4
...''- . -.. .
use the term{sq-c1al"danceprimarily'
In this volume, however, I prefer to
as folk
in part to distinguisn it flom-91he-tl9-f+:-9J""-119911dance'sueh
or homogeneous
dance, which tend to i""oi"" iitttmilded
of heritage and group
of dancers interested ptimiiify in
traditions. In social d*.figle.
by shared social and cultural interests
preexisting groups
cs a risuli of the dancing.ls whether
than from u .o*rnrrrrit! cieaied
physiof the r99os, it is often the sheer
cabaretsof the rgros or hijuse clubs
of the surroundings' and the eclectic
cality of the dancing itself, the energy
groups of individuars together into a
mix of individuals irrut brirrg diffuse
collectir-e. tclzu
OI Cofirfnerc;'ftlt$*
th an-e sting r: :;au"utl'
social dance 14
and sultural r-zuumi'
a >L'\:lgrrn
ent rules of i
bring their o"'*:oi rr-hich coloi -fnS
Popular da:l;e
accessiblet0 a:i
dance, is gen<r--lr
sidered"high' ;
ences.In the cu-i
1 9!c_ci!q{r*.js$
- Jo_
is their abriliu:;
national or rt
of what began as
porated into (sone
how dancesha\-e :
consumPtion i: e
and popular danc* M
song instructionLs:
sound recordings :r
style, and PoPuiar-:'r
present daY.
Part of the der':
into account the f.:
cial dancers ma-"there is no quesu.Lr::
of soPhistication' s:;
many of the chaPteexist on a contilu-;:n 1
theatricalized sq-Ies"TT
dance settings, h :a$
nature of the dancts al
and house stYlesin rtlt
f the
e lized
fiR- in
. \ew
d €d. 1 1rlar in i
ph Eldssion
ast are
rms of
rs folk
s from
her in
into a
collective, social bond. Unlike ceremonial or ritual dancesdesigned to mark
or commemorate specialoccasionsor events or to produce specific outcomes
weddings ceremonies,and the like), the forms of modern
soclil dance'represented here are symbolic or expressiveof a host of so.cial
andcultural values (regarding individual or group identity, sexualiry or class
interests, for instance) particular to their time, place, and historical contexts'
Whether a society ballroom dance, a disco dance, or a house party, different rules ofbehavior and propriety apply. To each of thesevenues,dancers
bring their own individual backgrounds, tastes, and personal attitudes, all
of which. color-thqtotality of the dance experience'
lopuiir dance $an also be synonymous with social dance, in that it is
accessibleto and eriloyed by a large swath of the population and, like social
dance, is generally seen as a counterpoint to what have typically been conof dance aimed at privileged audisidered "high" culture or classical-fo--rms
e.nces.In the collection, thou.gh, popular danceiis also identified according
is their ability".to..spr-ea.d",beyondl-o"9al-991391*-q.!q*,b-e.c*Alns"Jl}n*a
national or worldwide dance,phenomcna."Pu4$ and hip-hop are examples
of what began as subcultural dance forms only to become more fully incorporated into (some would argue appropriated by) rnainstream culture. Thus,
how dances have become commercializqd, ma{<eJed, and sold for Pg}!f-e'
ii alarge pari of th'e story of the relationship beifr€E1-aq.tut
and popular dance.in-North American contexts-whether through-dancesong instriictioirs,-iadio-dance lessons,etiquette manuals, daily newspapers,
sound recordings, or MTV, media forcesof many kinds have shapedthe look,
style, and popularity of social dance from the late nineteenth century to the
present day.
part of the defining process of social and popular dance must also take
into account the fluidity in levels of expertise among dancers. Although social dancers may begin as amateurs (and many of course remain that way),
there is no question that much social dancing may certainly rise to a level
of sophistication, style, and skill often equal to that of professionals' what
many of the chapters bear out is how both social and popular dance fotms
exist on a continuum from the purely recreational to more theatrical and
theatricalized styles. The spatial configurations in many social and popular
dance settings, in fact, enhance the performative and often competitive
nature of the dances as in the three-quarter circle (or cipher) in break dance
and house styles in which dancerstake off on flights of imaginative improvi-
ffition before their peers,or designatedcornersof ballrooms and clubs (such
as the northeast corner of the Savoy Ballroom), designedto showcasethe
talents of elite dancers.In theseenvironments, participants become spectators and vice versa, as dancerscontinually shift "from viewer to doer," as
dance scholar Linda Tomko has noted, in an active presentation of self.17
Chaptersand Issues
In her r99r essay,"Dance Narrativesand Fantasiesof Achievement," dance
theorist and sociologist Angela McRobbie urged scholarsand writers to begin
to consider dance "as? social activity, a participative form enjoyed by people
in leisure, a sexual dt-uat;Toim of self-exprission, a kind'of exer-e'ise-ahd
a Wgy,9! ryeaking thiough the body."18Of course, of all forms of dance,
whether recreational or staged,performance dance may be viewed from
these sociologicalperspectives;socialdance,in particulaq though, criesout
for such analysis as it is so rooted in the materiality of everyday life. Our
authors, I believe, take up McRobbie's challenge and addressthe myriad
ways that social and popular dance reflects and absorbsdaily life as well
as shapes,informs, and influences social patterns and behaviors. Because
a sublect such as social and popular dance is by definition concernedwith
questions of "sociality," it standsto reasonthat these chapterstouch on a
host of social issuesand cultural concerns.
' Raceand racial issues,for one, figure prominently in this collection. To
talk about American social, vernacular, and popular forms means discussing I
'the prominence of African and African American forms and their transfor- 1
imative influence on American socialdance.As dancetheorist BrendaDixon i
Gottschild has said of what she calls the "Africanist" presencein dance, "Like
e]ectricity through the wires, we draw from it ait tfre time Uui-few of us are
awareof its source."leA major characteristicof social and popular dance is
th;iilis aonstahtly changing, morphing, and evolving as it absorbsdifferent
dance rhythms and different cultural traditions. As one of the anthology's
authors, Yvonne Daniel, notes of the trajectory of popular dance generally,
"It is always borrowing, returning, imitating, shifting, reversing, inverting,
improvising, and in the processshaping and polishing yet another named
creation of the current day." Often, however, those creations have gone
unnamed,their iacial roots ignored or unaccountedfor. Severalauthorsin
the collection bring to the historical record traditions not previously fully
acknowledged and uncover the rich cross-fertilizations betr,veenblack and
white, and black and Latin, inventions that have created some of our most
n'case the
toespectaI doer," as
of self.17
nt," dance
rs to begin
lbv people
s of dance,
erred from
[, cries out
ay life. Our
the myriad
life as well
cemed with
; touch on a
rllection. To !
rs discussing !
reir transfor- \
renda Dixon i
dance, "Like
Fw of us are
ular dance is
l anthologY's
rce generallY,
ng. inverting,
bther namgd .
os have gone
ral authors in
eriously fuIlY
een black and
p of our most
their origins
when black-derived dancesenter the white marketplace, where
dilution of the
become obscured and the price of popularity often means
of American
In ,,our National Poetry: The Afro-ChesapeakeInventions
that ,,if
Dance,,,which opens this collection, JurrettaJordan
and movement,
we are to begin to understand American vernacular dance
chesawe must come to terms with its Africanity." Heckscher examines
peake-areadance of the colonial era,
produced some of
and vibrant African American dance tradition but also
t h e ri c h e s tb l a c k a n d w h i te c u l tural exchangesthatw oul dcometoi nfl ufrom
ence the traiectory of American social dance' Drawing on approaches
anthropology and American studies,
t h e Vi rg i n i a j i g to tra c e a th re e .stepcul tural processofcreol i zati onthat
ultimately conioined African and European movement
in conInnovation
temporary Cajun and Zydeco Dance,"
confluence of traditions, in this caseof the Afro-Creoles,
and cultural
can Americans, and French and Anglo-Acadians. In her stylistic
points to the persistenceof
analysisof Louisiana'spopular dances,Waggoner
slavery, Segregation,and
these groups, dance and musical traditions
Soyinka' writing about
language discrimination. Critic and novelist
has described how
the resilience of West African drama in his r98z essay,
cultural conditions may demand that certain forms become
and creole
to preservetheir threatened status.zo
,,innovation,, Securedcultural
traditions in which, aSwaggoner explains,
,,the dances were modified as different ethnic groups sought
sulival, and
a common denominator on the dance floor'"
(w h o s e ti tl e re fe rs to a q u o te b yA fri canA meri candancechroni cl erMura
,,physical vocabulary,, of Southern
Dehn), Nadine George-Gravestlaces the
on Northern ragblack dances of the nineteenth century and their impact
to explore the
time dance. At the sametime, she draws
venues and
systematic exclusion of these danceswherr transferred
the .,primitive,,
the complex ways in which ragtime dance'sassociationwith
Dancing at
In ,,Negotiating Compromise on a Burnished Wood Floor: Social
Hop as "a
the Savoy,,,Karen Hubbard and T€rry Monaghan
dance experimaior reordering of almost the entire African American social
traditional accounts of the famed
ence." Their cultural history reconsiders
showthe Savoywas not only an exalted
Harrem dance club to exprore how
predominantly black local community'"
social dance aspirations of the
American social dance have been
Latin American influences on North
Then and Now: Qfindembo"'Yvonne
equatly profound; in "Rumba
of the dance from its roots nineprovides us with an evocative rendering
in the
sensational rise-in the United States
teenth-century Cuba through its
was never ivst one
"mixture"' and indeed rumba
ry5os. Quindembo means
with singing'
dance styles and fads
dance, but a complex mixture of
traces the rumba in all its complexity
feasting, and music making)' Daniel
and gained as it migrated from Cuba
and demonstrateswhat *Is tost
F Garciaemploys raceand classperspecNorth America.Like Daniel, David
in "Embodying Music/Disciplining
tives aswell as a transnational approach
New york city." Here he compares
Dance: The Mambo Body in Havanaand
mambo in both cities partook of r19ifiz9d
how the commerciali 'u"onof
Cuban Pete and Millie Donay
n*nty innuential Palladium team'
broke free of these constraints and
(a i;uerto Rican and an Italian American)'
' tretpeOrestructure"sexual comportment and interracial relations'"
incorporates and reinforces social
Although ;ocia,! aq{ pqpular dance
depending on the historical'
it*ny ulro t'u"'1""4 utto defy them'
of the given time' Rock-': -::l dance'
j ""*"r,
."ii".U, and political circumstances
ofboth acquiescenceto and flauntfor instance, representsa curious instance
the Clock: TeenageDance Fadsfrom
ing of social norms' ln "Rocking Around
youth's fascination with black-derived
1955to t965," TimWatt exptoreswhite
one's competence in the dances ensured
rhythm-and-blues music and how
the dancers' adoption of "stylized
peer acceptance.Yet at the same time'
the social decorum associatedwith
enabled them to take a stance against
previous eras of dance'
Dancing' O.l::"t1"q":- Culture' and
In "Beyond the Hustle: r97os Social
Club Dancer"' Tim Lawrence discusses
the Emetgence of the Contemporary
its sustained,propulsive beats and amhow sociardancing of this era, with
on the back of gay liberation' femigroup) identity' As he notes, "Riding
of the disco era were also engaging
nism, and civil rights, the core dancers
i n th e d e v e l o p me n to fn e w s o ci al formsandcul tural expressi on' andthe
safe spacein which they could work
floor provided them with a relatively
emotions and desites'"
out their concernsand articulate their
nts of the famed
an exalted showrue for "the mass
lance have been
'l\'onne Daniel
its roots in nineited Statesin the
as never iust one
ng rvith singing,
ll its complexity
d from Cuba to
nd classperspectsic/Disciplining
ere he compares
nk of racialized
tustrateiiliiw hl
rd vilheboniy
;constraints and
einforces social
n the historical,
k-'n'-roll dance,
m to and flaunt)ance Fadsfrom
th black-derived
bn of "stylized
gger of youth,,,
ue Culture, and
rence discusses
: beatsand amindividual (and
beration, femir also engaging
xsion, and the
rer-could work
In "Dancing Latin lLatin Dancing: salsaand DanceSport,',
Juliet McMains
highlights another facet of group identity in competitive
barlroom dance, a
form that straddresboth social and theatrical dance
styles.Here McMains examines the ways that Latin dance is practiced in
two different theatrical and
culfural arenas:semiprofessional,theatricalizedDanceSport
competitions and
salsaclub dancing (the studio versusthe street).what
is ,,at stak;,,,McMains
notes, are two versionsof Latin dance, "aspredetermined
improvisational movement." one representsthe professionatization
of Latin
American social dance, the other a concept of pan-Latino
identity. McMains
attempts to sort out each group's competing claims ,,authenticity.,,
Not to be overlookgdfr social dance'sability to create
and shape identity
is the notion otfliisure experienced in the act
of dancing alongside other
moving bodies. iv?nng*iuout the physical and psychic
effects of popurar
music in urban Rhythms:pop Music and popular curture,
criticlain chambers
explains how popular dancing may expressthe
simple pleasuresof ,.Jl.et-_.
onesel!," yslI&p,re
nteasul:s mal elicit moments of self_realization.zrSally R. Sommer, in
"'C'mon to My House':UndergroundHouseDancing,,,
*rit", of tn.
tialness of the "vibe" in house dance, a popular form
of club dance (and
offshoot of disco) performed to propulsive, nonstop
music.2zThe vibe, she
notes, "is an active communal force, a feeling, a rhythm
created'bythe mix
of dancers, the balance of loud music, the effects
of darkness anairgtrt and
physical/psychical energy." Invoking anthropologist
victor Turn"r, s'o*-",
describeshow the combination of ,,hard,,,dancing,
sonic energy,and the
repetitive, incantatory-like song lyrics of house dance,
may rnouce a trans_
formative spirit of communitasor grace.
Social and popular dance is typically associated
with reisureand recreation-what peopredo in their off time. As the field
of leisure studiesitserf
has grown, though, schorarsare now exploring popular
pastimes that occur
apart from the world of work not merely as diversionary
activities but as
spacesfor rejuvenation, testing of behaviors,and
assertionsof identity out_
side the confines of the ordered, everyday worrd.
In ,,The Multiringed cosmos of Krumping: Hip-Hop Dance at the Intersections
of Battle,Media, and
Spirit," christina zanfagnaalso invokes Turner and
reformulates his concept
of "liminality" to anaTyze
how krumping-a twenty-first-cenfury incarnation
of break dancing-embodies both competitive and
spiritual dimensions that
manifest in the circreor "ring" tharkening back to
the African American ring
shout). zanfagna describeskrumping as "a combination
of street fighting,
moshing, sanctifiedchurch spirit possession,and
aerobicstriptease,,,a rype
of "serious play,, inwhich dancers may confront
anger, pain, and sadness.
type of
rgzos and r93oswere surely another
The dance marathons of the
Ameriin" yearnings and fearsof Depression-era
"seriousplay" that'unn"u
other dances'beand the Charleston' among
cans.Here, fox trots, *u"'"''
As carol
for primarily working-class
came contest, or tortit ra"
bu"t"' American Dance Marathons"'
Martin illustrates in "Reality
fiction' presented
the lines between reality and
spectacles,which blurred
an esHere' leisure' asMartin notes' "became
senseof deprivation and loss'
no longer related to respite from
cape, an expanse of time
from lack of labor'"
forms areindeed a way of "speaking
If socialand popular dance
that attitudes about
the body," then it i"tot ""p'ising
itt ttt"" Ai'*ssions' Several
ity, and gender too- iu'S"
and middleof the experience of immigrant
historical and cultural ururyri,
dancing and its attendant rituals
classcolonial settlers,social
of gaining entry into a new
proper decorum were a means
courtly couple dances
charts the evolution from
English country dances and
oriented cotillions, reels, and
a code of manners for the
the middle class as it estaUfisfreJ
evenings dedicated to dance'"
aspectsof daily life, including
and New
Indecencies:Women' Dance'
In "Apaches,r'angos' andbther
of the
I explore the- ways that social'dancing
York Nightlife of tirJrq'os"'
as a
atteniion. to the female body'
or h"igh;";
rgros, an
and middle-class women with
means of engaging wortingsame time' I
and women's identity'
ideas about equality, sexuality'
(a fact that
injunctions against the dances
consider the moral and religious
of both
and how
Ou"t" tliroughout its history)
has plagued
with these prohibitions and used
classesperformed "i" U'utogt'"i
of testing new modes of heterosexual
ragtime dances as a means
of self' Both Elizabeth Aldrich
and personal expressions
and popular dance forms have
important ways that social
ftte couriesy literature
tunction within
helped im'":t;;t
manuals of the rgros' for instance'
and the dance instruttio"ut
social skills and appropriate deportment
part what wer" .orrrii"."a requisite
be attained through dance'
Readbased "The Trianon and On:
and geograpfty i" ft"' ethnographically
nother t)?e of
ion-era Amerirer dances,becans. As Carol
fihons," these
bn. presented
became an esnr, but respite
aldng through
rality, sexualters also illuse Civilizing of
beth Aldrich's
t and middlefetiquette and
xiery. Aldrich
itarian grouphe struggle of
nce, and New
hncing of the
n be read as a
: same time, I
rs (a fact that
omen of both
used popular
ual courtship
I consider the
sed a didactic
rnth century
e, helped ime deportment
gender, class,
nd On: Read-
ing Mass Social Dancing in the r93os and r94os in Alberta, Canada.,,In
this New Historicist reading, Doolittle brings to light the recollections of
former dancers, now octogenarians, to reveal how social dancing in western
canada during the world war II yearsbecame "a crucial territory for staging
of choreographies of community cultural values." Doolittle analyzes how
massmigration from the provinces to the cities, sudden encounters between
regional groups, and accompanying qualms about what constituted acceptable dance behavior (especiallyfor women) all accounted for the emergence
of specificdance stylesand practices.Doolittle, too, offers important insights
into the challenges ofresearching social dance, an elusive, often evanescent
form too often ignored in the documentary records.
An exploration of social and popular dance would not be complete without some discussion of its symbiotic relationship with more formal staged
dances. From ballet to Broadway, social and vernacular forms have long
served as deep reservoirsof inspiration for directors and choreographers.
As dance critic Marcia B. Siegel has observed in The shapesof change: Imagesof American Dance, "This constant stream of vernacular and popular
material flowing into our art dance, sometimesby design and sometimes
inadvertently, is one of the major sourcesof the creativity of the American
dance."2fernacilar and theatrical stageforms have continually floated b;k*-.}
aTilTdfih, feeding and informing one another, often giving rise to yet new
forms. Socialdancesget picked up and transformed as stageddances;those
stageddances,in turn, circulate back into social realms in yet other modified
forms. It is a kind of endless,loop of creativiw
p-lvrricrr steps and styles.aril
continually recycled,recombined,and rebornFile cfraptersi" ;;";
eatricalizationsof social Dance Forms," explore social and vernacular
dances as they have developed in four distinct theatrical arenas: Broadway
musical theater of the rgros and rgzos, nightclub entertainment of the r93os
and r94os, contemporary music video, and the modern-dance concert srage.
In "'A Thousand Raggy,Draggy Dances,:SocialDance in BroadwayMusical
comedy in the r9zos," Barbaracohen-Stratyner looks at the intricate ways
that the charleston and Black Bottom were transformed from their black
vernacular roots into stylized stage dances. She explores how the design
and placement of these dances underscored their primarily middle-class
audience'spreoccupations with a new consumer culture, women,s entry in
the work world, and new patterns of courtship and marriage. Knowledge
of popular social dances of the day, learned through musical shows, helped
people define their place in society. As Stratyner notes, //In rgzos New york,
you were what you danced.,,
In "From BharataNatyam to Bop:JackCole's'Modern'JazzDance," ConstanceValis Hill tracesthe work of legendary iazz choreographerJack Cole
and one of his most notable dance numbers, "Sing, Sing, Sing," performed
to Benny Goodman's famed composition. "More than a step," Valis Hill
writes, "the jitterbug was a style, a state of mind: a violent, even frenzied
athleticism.,, In her detailed choreographic analysis,valis Hill describeshow
cole captured the essentialiitterbug in an eclectic style that combined steps
from African American-basedvernacular forms, East Indian dance, and the
rhythms of bebop. cole's work is a testament to the influence of social dance
forms in helping forge new theatrical traditions-in this case modetn iazz
dance-that have been influential to this day.
Music television video (MTV), popular since the t98os, has been rife
with variations on forms of social and vernacular dance from moshing to
voguing to krumping. Sherril Dodds, in "From BusbyBerkeleyto Madonna:
Music Video and Popular Dance," spotlights some of the earliestexamples
of fllmed dance in the work of legendary choreographersBusby Berkeley
and Fred Astaire and discusseshow many of these screen-dancetraditions
are still alive in the music videos of Madonna, Michael Jackson,and others.
Dodds also delvesinto the complicated interplay between music vil-"gjUt"_
and a breeding ground for new
,Asa promotional tool for recording artists
(du.." styles.Shenotes that music video functions in "a sophisticatedcircuit
n=treiny-e-ption."Although it feeds off existing social dance traditionC, ind
;;tpects exploits them, it also "servesas a pedagogicaltool that
iirculates and distributes dance styles that audience are keen to adopt and
"' As several chapters illustrate, hip-hop and break-dancing styles have become commercialized in a variety of popular media, including music, film,
and television advertisements. Halifu Osumare turns our sights to the ways
these forms have become theatricalized on the concert stage.In "The Dance
Archaeology of Rennie Harris: Hip-Hop or Postmodern?" she revealshow
modern dance choreographer Rennie Harris, whose work combines elements
of the postmodern dance aesthetic with the African American vernacular,
has shattered the distinction between "high" and "low" art dance forms.
Osumare,who interviewed Harris for this chapter, concludes that he is creating a new kind of so-calledtheatrical ritualization, "ttansform[ing] a dance \
form meant as virtuosic spectacleinto an often delicate and subtle, pared
down, concert-orientedmovement that exploresthe human condition."
The range of material in social dance, both historical and contemporary, is far-reaching and the variety of styles great. Of the chapters included
mce." Conr -lackCole
,- \-alis Hill
ren trenzied
mbined stePs
mce, and the
rt social dance
: modern lazz
has been rife
,m moshing to
s to Madonna:
"ti"rt "xumPl"t
Busbv BerkeleY
bnce traditions
son, and others'
rusic video's-role
ground for new ,
rhisticated circutl
:e rraditions, and
ieen to adoPt
being stvles have
,uJing rnusic'
r sights to the
age. ln "The
,?l ,he reveals
r conrbines elements
merican vernaculat'
rr" att dance forms'
is creathdes that he
a dance
ate and subtle' Pareo
human condition"
rrical and contempothe chaPtersinclucleo
maybe"il':' :t;t":i;:M
llil ##::T::n;
Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Aibrigh
t's Moving History/Dancing
cultures: A DanceHistory
Reader(Middtetown, cr: w.rr.yl"
u.ri#r1# o^t*t zo_or)fand
sa"t'ahi"ai"i"';;;;:0,,,,n,(Urbana:Haur...., Needham,s
u"i;;;G of ,rinois
7. Someof theseincludlTi.iL
ing of a style(Ann Arbor,MI: T"yy
uvr neiearJ-'l.ers, .9s9;; Barbara RockanrttheMak_
in Motion(Bloomington,l"a"t#'u"t"rsity
?ress,.sss), yrro.r.r"Daniel,
t" c""tt*i"ri)
sity Press,rees);Martasavigliano,
co: westviewpress,reeJ); ti"
iilei iorgo, (D_urham,
,td, ;;il
LindaiomX",, O"Lrnii \frrri
Crr,lr_r,Ethnicity,an. SocialDivides
AmericanDance,r,oo_rgzo (Bloomingio.r,
trrAlrru University press,1999).
_J ir".iir"o ) tlporsiut, oonrr.
waysof using the body.
' - ' .Its meaningis situatedboth in th. .o.rt"*t l?1iSi"*
otn"t sociallyprescribed
ciallymeaningidrnruf,of moving
and soand in the ..ot
in specinc
j, 6#'fi$:Hfi::li:t":lr"j:*
and CulturatStudies,,,in Meaning
ii i"in"l'iZ
o,t. u-,,i".,,'i",ffi
a cosent
casefor theinherentrelationship
t ?:i;W\iMeaning
ro' Severarscholarshave discussed
statusofdance studiesand
its development
formsof curtutut
on interdisciprinary
approachesmight ir.r'p--Jt"
r_.ase for the further inclusion
oance in these and other fields.
S".li". o.r.-oiJ,,o_Uoaying
Difference,,, inMean_
ing in Motion, z9-.3r.ror furttr*'r-"-i""a"i#"t
r"irri gqan"le debates,see
Gay Morris,s
'ilfl ; i;"1;#;
: Movemen
t Movemen
rr' Tor another perspective-on
the distinctions between social,
popular dance traditions,
see Barbar" Cotr""_ii*,yner, .,Dialogues:vernacular, and
Issuesin Social
r3. Ibid.
L:"Ell.l Friedland, ,,Disco:
Afro_American Ver:naculat Performance,"
---1; lournal ts, .ro. ,-dprr.rg
Dance Rer9g3): 33.
15. For a distinction betl
expression of national identity,
Ly,fi ::
*h"r"u, p"p;;.;;;."
was a commodity
in the mar_
D.itre History
en \eedham's
sin oi Illinois
lrTnng, Samba:
ivrrnne Daniel,
ndrana UniverJ-irirrrl(Boulder,
)uie UniversitY
:l.titl DiYidesin
. ro99).Seealso
l a comPlex net'using the bodY'
sscribed and sos of dance forms
: lssuesin Dance
ti D,utce,ed' Jane
r,1': groundbreak:trreen dance ano
rrrund Dance),"in
rCrts develoPment
e neld must adoPt
.t interdisciPlinary
dtimacy within
ids such as cultural
sflSsions of vadous
schoiars' insistence
turtner inclusion or
)t:erence," ltMean'
rtt:. seeGaYMorris's
.London: Routledge'
€nt \lovements,"
,-ia vernaculat, and
irr.,"t in Social
ce Researcn
-t-.' D an
|ni:'n )mericanDance
do:rnance," DanceRe'
*e LeeEilenFriedland'
iirir'i;. chief ed' Mircea
al reiieved to be Pure
rractices that become..Po
Yi[:,XT";;ff;':: il[
' ['#:;lif,il:ftffi
:,Kriy I ur,ri' r'"0'n a'
*r'**s: Pop
-i*'*it"'"t'*il;lJl"rTrf i;ii':;zi;''
-rron, rg79), 3'
j ft so.{tr- A#b ?cPu:"4
H$ *-v*g K
Gosmosof A4ftArf6
-iLV\/ t
Hip-Hop Dance
at the Intersections
of Battle,Media,
and Spirit
lhe cjJcle ot the dance is a permissive circl€: it protects and permits.
It ce ah tihes on .etain days, men aod women coxF rolcner ar a
g ive l tla (p a nJ tl, en u- d. r t he \ oipr r ele\ ot t hH tr i b e ,n i n S t h c n
t€lves into a s.emingly unorganized pantonime which is in reality
L-ttlemely systematic in which by various means-hakes of the hea.l,
t€nding of the spinai column, rlrowing rI. whote body backwards_
tuy be deciphered as in an open book rhe huge etfon or conmutity to exorcise itselt to itb€rare itself, ro dptain tselJ. There are no
inside the circlc.
t pandingthe Circle
Ihe circle of the dancethat Fanon speaksof can be found not onty in AJri_
e conteirtsbut alsoin po$4vowdances,the ring shout of siavetim€s, the
IEIIarl tarantella,the Braziliarrsanbadera.ta,arld otherdancesspanningthe
3 38
and canformin multiplesituatjons
aoo, rqitins abouqqejetlE-|]rI 6gx re of the
fi ir.tetn*Lhin 1ln"'i.anm"\i \hol;hip nore'rhalhe tenaLibor'hl'
romib.' oq{u,,u'drand$::
. r,iptoi,."i,con.
1lTl1ce notions
lTfj"1. oJ:a
';€flects the desiresof som€scholarsand artiststo rcprod
coherent Ahicanist black America'zThechallenCe"is to tell the story of the
aledra(idl h hole_
circleso a' lo re\rn, 'dimsol Lorrinuirvdrd unLomplit
nesswhile at the sametime recognizing
emergewithin the logic of nce."3 The imloitance of thq
meaning in b1a!] -eIplelsiv€Jor4s does not lie solely its erdstenc€as a
tirns d bld(k.h:nsordrreLlqlriLarorlprinS burtdther.r\rdi\outueTo
rnd di\ur\rv€p;6te\'
d penormari!e
u nod ( iR,cr' roengaSe'n
-\hrUJgh \^hrcrpeoplctrrF\tormLl-do\'into
order'lt i\ dn opporlxnty Ior
arenasof life ln this
\,discussion and interaction between'i'-eemingtvdi-sparate
, haplFr.I wrl,u.Flhe Iferdphoro InP(irc,erolinkfishtinBdndddn(inE
L the worldly aa! t}Ie otherwoddlt the undergroundind the D]ainstrcam,
'iu-uoou, or in"oneren...' fhe circlei\ d wav ror hip hop danLer\ro
,,/..ass€rt their t\rholenessev€n asthe edgesof their live3 may seemfrayed and
d wdvro buildd $orld hirl-in . ho'ld
turthemore, the challengeis to t€ll the story of the chcleasan expanded
tale oI multiple and overlapping circles.Aft€r outlining th€ similaities b€
tween circlesof battle and circles oI dancein hip-hop culture, I will Sive a
bdef history of EtLqr!4q and expiain h9$, i! is p+acticedlr!.!Wq g!!fFr!!i
c.o4letitilc-oJ1-e-lpilituat' Ior the circle can also be
iiied about asa dns. The llrgis an ar€naof physical combai' competition,
and artistry.It is alsoplaceof spirit(s),of God,of holv dan€eand religious
trance.At €arly religiousgath€ringsof enslaveclAJricansin brush harborsoften referredto as the "invisibl€ church"-the dng shout was peformed'
Among the tees, they shuffled counterclockwisein a cirde, swayin& clapping, stompinS,and tapping th€ir healsbut n€vercrossingtheir feetso asnot
to confusethe saoeddtual with socialdancinS.Accompani€dby chant, this
rh\thmic walkmov€dincleasinglyfast€runtil "shouters"(danc€rs)
themselvesinto a quivering, iembling trance.sThe hip'hop dancestylesof
clowning and kumping €mbgdy bat!1.!ill:!o.!4pe!it!ve andsp-iitual aspects
,o1!!e rinE, as nanreste{l in the boxins ring and the ring shout ln an em
r of holy wa , jihads, genocide,and the war on tenor, violence and rcligron
often so hand ln hand. But the more m€aningtullinkagesbetweenbaftle and
spiritcanb€ seenin the daily artrstlcpractjcesofindividuals.Competition
T a i: :
! In ihir
Ddnceatthe t tersecno s ofBattLe' Medid, and Sqitit '
and spidJUal practic€ irvolv€ the interactive' enbodied, dialectical
of somelhing greater,inspirational, and
Foctisin8 on adolescent hip-hop dancers hom ros Ang€les, Califomia'
a multidjm€nsional
\eitl,ierii6del viclor Tumer's concept of,"1lltnality'Jnto
and exphenqneron
' ;;ndition of beins
6 rurner provides
a singularvision of timinatity that mustbe op€n€dup in order to understand
the way kflmping is experienced in the public spac€of commercial culture He
we must
states,'/If our basic mod€l of soci€ty is that of a ttructure of positions,'
regard the period of margiD or 'liminalig"
( J r n D i n k ,i n th e n x d \' .f th ' \l ru tl urertl P o\' l i on' orrl rheIcnl er or
r " r 1 re ra r" o.p tra e . rre a rt' a p a rado-,al ri rudLi onol bci ns bet\eer
within many inter€]ated, multidimensional structures of smiety R€shaping
Tum6i's argument, young hip'hop dancers occupv states of liminalitv
alsobsigg incorPonted into the multiple spacesof the mainsiream'the market com;oditv, and the commercialmusicindustrv (And vet, many of them
just one
do not eniov the inat€riaLbeneits of the mainstream) There not
"inte$tructunl situation"; rather,
ti€s beI gi\.e a
& clapn l this
q e a nd
elplqr€ the multir!!8ed co!!qo!!! Eq4ping through not only the i'ole€lof
dancersbut alsothe sometimesoppositionalvoicesof peopletrom
ahevarjedionaextswith which krumpingintersects(i e', scholars,
Dancing the Fight, Fighting thtough Dd ce
Breakdancing,one of tire four elem€ntsof hip'hop alongwith emceeing'
DJing,and graflti, developedin th€ r97osin the Bronx and LosAngeles
th€ urban vernaculardanc€asa "fusion
Dancecritic SallyBanesdescribes
of sports,dancinSand fighting"that combin€sLatinoand WestIndianin_
tluencesand aspectsof the €lectricboogie,uprockinS,and aerialglannastics.sBreakalancingbustealinto the spotlightin movieslike WildSt/leand
cam€oson BurgerKing commercials.Glorified (and sometimesparronized)
a\ alL4lrernari!e
the medtdDdrnled
d\ d
dramd lo
Bbctlo.a\.iorpadadn(c.part\pon. pdrlpdntomtmrc
keepblo:r:n ,nd bhck youtn arvayfrom ffime, violence, and other related
-evils:.'16ihe uninitiateal, especiallycops, it look€d like streetfighting. Legend has it, New York City policem€n w€re about to a est a group of yourS
guysfor viol€nt behavioruntil they explainedthey were '/iust dancing,,
and proce€ded
to demonstrate
€achdancemoveto the cops.Youngpeopl€
develop€dartistic meansto claim terdtodes, negotiateboundadesover territories, and fight for their statusamong and againstival clans,each wfth
its own nameandcolor.PaulSpencer's
descriptionof Trobrianddanceasan
"idiom of conftontation" and r/equivalentto fighting/' offersinsight into the
link betweendanceand dispute:"To the extent that sucha displayled to the
dispe al of a weakergroup, dhect encounte$ wer€ avoided.,,,The .,disp1ay
occursat the mostsensitivepoint," the boundaryb€tw€enterritories,at ihe
of life and death,and in momentsof spidtuallnsecurity.lo
The thing is, th€re is a.b!ql]]!cj!j!,t99qdalr.i"g
capoeira,bulifuhting, Trobriand wa ior dances,and even WerfSideSfo4/)
asthereis bet$'eenartisticinnovationand battle.Therearealsoslgnificanr
similariti€sb€tweenhip-hop dancingand boxing.They areboth intimate
arts,requiring the closeproximity of human bodi€s,often fleshto flesh,often
involving sweat.They aie basedarcund moves,movesthat arerespondedto
by thosepresent.Toastingand boasting,tauniing and flaunting play promirent rcles in the itual. Think Mohammed Ali with his rhlmed, rhlrhmlc
rants. Eachman and woman has his or her own unique sryte and, iJ they
are good, a few tricks rp the sleeve.And flnally, both bodng and hip-hop
dancingtakeplac€in a spatialcomple{known as"the dng." Althoughhiphop danc€rsmay not refer to their arena of dance as rhe |in& most lrreak
dancing battles or Ireestylesessionsar€ organizedin a circutar formation, in
which danc€rsmove along the outside edgeof the ring while other dancers
breakin and out ofthe center.rl
Hip-Hop Dttnce in Soufh Cenfral. LosAryele<
In the wake of th€ Rodney King dots of 1992,ThomasJohnson-founder
and father of clown dancing found himself b€hind barsand looking for a
way to make a positive changeln his communiry in South Cental. AJtera
rcligious epiphany whil€ in prison, he stared p€rfoming hip-hop danceat
little kidy birthday paties donned in a clown suit, a ninbow-colorcd Afro,
Hiq-Holt Ddnce at the I]itersectionsof ttatle, MeLlia,dntl Sfint
n3 people
€ach with
e "display
andclown facepaint. Blastinghjp-hop beatsthrough hisboom box, h€ crcate4 the Iirst moves of s'hat he ihen called "clown dancing." Eventuallt jt
would justbe called "clowning," a h ighly versatileand varied forln of black
\L re e ld rn \c l h d l ,o m b .n .' l o (-l .l )rr\ \u(h
-' u di r ,e or !-n,r.l d boosi e
d n d -\[ p l s l d j q _ t]-9 . p h r n s o,hF \" \u,l Jnd d\ rd-i , p. I l or ndn.e sr)h
a1!9fusese]€mentsof poppinsandrockins,two older
forms of competitive, illusory hip-hop strcct dance associatedwith funt
danc€ and break dancing, andJamaicandancc hall moves such the butt€dy
afd th€ iod€b:r,.:r'liel;6bbling bodies,contracting chests,and liquid limbs
ofclown dancersled ShaheemReid of MTV N€ws towritc, "If you look like
Bozo having spasms,you'rc clolng it fght."lrUnder the narne Tommy the
Clown,Johnson beganto gain a sizablefollowing ofyouth around the neighborhood who were dubhed the Hip-Hop Clowns. Danc€$ paint their faccs
like cloa'ns in an act ofmasking thatallows them th€ invisibilityto express
themselveswithout self consciousnessand rettraint (figue r9.r).
,'te sto\,)
d. ii the)
I hip-hop
rugh hip,
FiSurer9.r: Tonrny the Clown and the Hip-Hop Cloms, Los Angel€s,Febiu
ary 2s, 2oos. Photo permissionby wwr.t.'mm),thec1own.con.
342 .
cHRrsrri.ra ZaNTAGNA
As one of the k$mp€rs, Dragon,elucidatesin th€ acclajmeddocum€ntary
Rtr. budlmrn,ileDdvidIdt hapele,"lt you knowlhere' d 'nd\l ' oveti.lg
yoJr6k. youleellharil s tu'r y;-by)our\ell.rndlhalvouridenriDr)hrd
den . . ..aBd"A
ou crn ddn(ed\ rreel)d\ yAr wanr ro '4 fomm\ tie ( low.rl
d e\.rib F\ hi. p din( ed r dte A d "her ponl) M d* \
d l \ o i n v o l \ e m a S r L :d d n L e
theorist Lois Ellfeldt hasrcmarkedr"The weaLi;f the masktak€son supernatural or sacredpowe$."16The painted clown maskspeak to the element
of piay and goofinessin clowning. (Goofy is one of the tunny and energetic
\ t \ le' pionF er e d
b \ th e d d n .e ru o o h h i m ' e l l .rtl a) i (rboul doubl er€j t pl d\ 1
m d\ k sr he \ er i o u .n e s d rd rh e \d ( re d n e \\b € h i nd tne pl aytul ne$ Il i \boA
r n d o rd e tl y.everyqhercand now her{ !,/
, - d8i(and c om i .. :mp ro v i \d b o n a d
becomes spidtual, art
It opens up a space of revers4ls ir!Ii!iq1]i919+c€
becomesbattle, oppressiontransfoms into liberation (and vice versa).says
RichardSchechner,"Play js th€ improvisational imposiiron ot order, a way
of making order out of disorder."13-lhe clown, like th€ iesterand harlequin,
is an outsider engag€din the tragicomic play of life and death
FromLlowninSlo hrumpinS
It wasnot lons befor€the orcus clown elementsoonexpandedinto a hader/
and personalsolo style calledkflmping, a style thar allowed
more aggressive
danaersto connont and wo* through the more difficutt emotions of pain
playbecamemor€ serious that is, itbecam€ s€liousplayand arger.1'qThe
becamemorc "tribal" and warrior-like asSouth Central,
and the face
particula.ly watts and Compion, again startedto rcsemblethe police state
Wilof the r99os.FormerNew YorkCity Polie€Commissioner
tn d.ito6J-qqtiana beganemployingth€ samepolice tacticsas he did
under Mayor Rudolph Gidiani. He iarget€dpetty cdm€, graffitr, and minor
violations such asloud radios and disoderly conduct lt is clear to seehow
AJrican Amedcan youth engag€din the often-mjsunde$tood erpressive
behaviorsof hip-hop culture would be under attack
Krumping develop€dand floudsh€dwithin this atmospher€of constnini,
st ryeillance,and brutality. With little or no tunding for artsFogra4rs, alterSouthCentral
schoolactivltles,and opportunitiesto expressthemselves,
youth took it upon themselv€s
through hip-hop dance.The kftmp€r Diagon elucidates:"We
after-schoolprograms. . . . In the inne. city we're all thought to be sports
play€rs.. . . Everybodydoesnot play basketballand €verybodydoesnot play
o! Dan.e at the lntersectionsof Bottle, Media, onri Spiit
football.Is therc som€thing elsefor us to do? So a group of us got togeth€r
r d id
popping oftbe chest.Lachap€l]emakesovert connections betwe€nkrnmping and traditional African danceasweli.,1In iine with Los Ang€lesgangsta
€thics and aesthctics,the style is hard and inrense. The Doves are strong and masculh€ and th€ speed of delivery mind-blowing.,, One iournatist
describesthe movem€nts as "rapidly flailing appendages."zrkumping is
qllgq !9 !arg!g!r leit-healy hip-hop tracks, sometimeswith no vocals.
hir h pre d L J )i n g
d .\w rh rd a p i n So r" \pt i ng." .ometi m!\ rr i \ not hhrl onc
y do$ bu f0 o u o n e d o e . i L \rt F i \ a m e J' l \ ro sl rbstdn,
e dnd Ll l Fd\ure.
a wiv
r o enga g ei l i e p i ' y .i , a r..T U i i u n d J n d thF.pi ri tual . ' Similarto the b boy and b-girl br€ak dancing crews,kiump dancersfolm
structurea and organtzeOScrervs
tight-knjt sroup of individuals
whose loyalties and commitment extend beyond the circle of the dance.
Th€sedngs orbands ofkrump bmthers and sisierscan provide the support
and stability many of the dancers do not Fceive from their own families at
home, lach faDilyis orSaniz€daround a mentor, ]eadkrump danceror king,
who ls often refened to as a "Big Homey" and trains, teaches,and counsels
"Lil' Homiey'in both dance and life. Mosr of the initial famili€s comprised
Atuican American youth, but soon Asian American crewr such as Fjlipino
Rice Track form€d, and
of differ€nt ncial and ethnic backgrounds
began krumpins as welllt
K r um pi n S o n L h eS tre e l (:Sp i ri t i n th e R i ng ot D ance
Dngon explains,"Therc is a spirit ln the midst ofkump-ness. Thereis a spiit
there. . . most peopl€ think, they're jusr a bunch of rowdy, gh€tto, heathen
thugs. No, what we arc is oppressed."Whereasthe r€ligious imagery ofthe
slavespiritualsmaskedthe underiying call to protest,rh€ sacr€dhas beenthe
" hiddenl rd n \ ri o t" b e ' l c d .hth . re b e l l i ou\.\uopo.edl v\e(utdrD el .rmdn, e
o l- ip- n o od ]n ( d j 9 rl a d \ q n rh u n ) \e d l i denri be\.heB d' ( l Jbti , 5pnered\
d , oll\ c l i o n o l c o \ c fl i o ( i d l ,p a ($ h r;{ d dround.t^o mri n cenrF,:or btdc(
lit e: t he c h ri (h d n d i o o l ,o i n l o rc ru b ., 1l -e. ubhd,dl w dv.bpeni nconte\,
and conceri wlth the black church as a v€hicl€ for expression,producing a
discodant mailage betweenthe sacr€dand th€ secular.I would alsoadd
: i d ,4 rh i d \p !ti ? l r e n re rm d rl ed by ri mrndl i l i e\ d pl d(e ol rhe
vT{i and between,of literal inters€ctionsanalcomers,of the crossmads,of
p-fr"@Adolescent hip-hop fans ofter occupv,aliminal
i" tlr.ir ti""t aswell asa multiliminal staiusin societyYouthor
the stre€tsdo more"housewre€king,"spidt coniuring,and pelvicgFating
than €ither the church or the club could imaghe " Many hip-hop danc€rs
an enduring hallmarkof blackpopular
LosAngeles,long toutedasa diftuseconcrer€
of carculture,immotalizedby
sprawlepltomizingtbe ethicsandaesthetics
the G-Funkinspired gangstamp of Dr Dre and Snoop,is often overlooked
asa placeof socialityand atistic communion.
The sacrednessof krumping is captured dunng a kump sessionin Rizr.
During a collective danceSathedngin a South C€ntral school yard; one of
the f€maledancers,Daist falls nd€r the spirit and losescoffciousness.
Thos€who arenot soloing or dancing Play a vital supporiive and interactive
rol€for the soloistor featureddanc€$.Theyhelpoeat€ a mood of subllerdnd'epuhhral rheyre\ponoro Ineddnce
\ sen,e,sLnultdn€uu5li.elebldtoD
rc.k ng.rorqdrdurchjnginclndrion\'
hoist one anotherup into the
and viscenl exclamations.
at one other to dle them_
, air, tug on one another'sclothing, kick and
within asif it wassomesleepinglion,
selvesup, awakeningthe aggr€ssion
Altho gh it may look combaiive,
their minds
they saythat fighting
Collapsinginto the arms of a f€Iow danc€r,a n€arbyyouth explainsthat
Daisyhasiust fall€nunderthe spldt,"She'juststruck. thattwhatwe've
all beenwaitingon." Anoihervoicechimesin, "Shehasrcachedthe inevi"I don't know. .
table."when Daisyis askedwhat happ€ned,
I just let go.'1lndel the dome of the night skt
informal,h{-rorphoustird€s, danceto hip-hop tracksmadeof hea\.ry,repetitiv€, rhythmic ioopa,under basketballhoopsthat hang ov€r their headslik€
dngs abound.
holy halos.In the lab'.rinthof th€ city, at pavedcrossroads,
rhis play of circles mates up tlr€ lqsJr cil4qg|tl:
lylich is a diual of seriors play. The energyand vigor of hip-hop pmvid€s
the aesth€ticmeansto exorcisethe demonsand coniurespidt.But thoflgh
it looks wild and out of contiol to outsiders, it is actually s€lf-goveming/
odering and defies€laims that hip-hop youth are inhercnily violent and
disruDtive.Not only is this danc€not violent, it is alsoorganizedhealing
of tb€
He is
ring and
also add
i populal
ralized by
f subqer
rile themprng lion,
Hi!-Ha! Danceat theIntetsectionsof Bdttle,Media,an.] Spitit . 34s
and catharticrelease.
Krumperstalk aboutit aschannelingtb€il angerin a
positiveway.That said,krumpingis mor€than a copingmechanismand
that hip-hop cxltureis not just aboutcriminalbehaviorsand m€ntalitiis. thussin. and nihilistic rtreetlit€.
Similarto th€ for€stsanciuai€softhe tural South,kumpingprovldesa
strcetsanctuarvofth€ urbancitv. It relocat€s
the "invisiblechurch"ofthe
biirrr rruito. to trr" rtt""ts, the s:hoolyards,andthe blacktopsasthe dancerstlansfolm certain musicalpracticesand rituals found in the blackchurch
to fit their hip hop lifestyles.
Dragonand MissPrissy€v€np€rformkrump,
dancingin the church,and many of the dancersproclaim
that ihey "get krump for Christ."The abraslvenatur€of krumpingmakes
it diflicnlt to locateits sacredundercurent; th€ spirltualforc€sbr€wing
within ii arc often secreted
in movesthat conveys€xuality,vlolenc€,and
sufferin8.Butin ihe circleofdanccwhcn the "spiritin the midstof krumpness"is present,the dancers'experi€rlce__qf-r}3,l4.Io+d
is circular: They can,
aship-hopfan, scholar,andproduceinqlleulgqgglsays,
'tee th€ saoedin
the profan€,"they can love and hate simultan€ousty,
they can spanearth
and sky.roDngon explains,"l his is the only way we seeflt of storytelling.
This ls the only way of makng ourseives
feellike lnebelong."In the circle
ofthe dance,which is animatedbymythic energyand the twin experience
of fantasyandrcaliiy,peoplecanbreakeverydayiules.Boundaries
beiween '
lhi\ $o'ld dnd lhFolLr'tr\orJ Jreb uned
Krumping at the Battle Zone: Competition in th€ Ring of Combat
,lains tbat
the inevigamer m
rfl-. r€peiih€ads lilie
p pro\ides
ut Laough
.d hialing
TheBattleZone,an annualkrumpingcompetitionjudg€dby the barometer
takesplaceat the GreatWesternlorum in lnSlewood,
LosAngeles.The lorum wasformerlythe home ar€nafor the LosAngeles
Lakersand now housesth€ megachurchcongregationof laithtul Central,
wh€rehip hop lnspircdgospelstarKirklranklin runsthe musicalprogram
on Sundays.3r
Alreadt the arenafuseselementsofsport, competirionrand
religion.In hont ofthousandsof childrenand parents,Tommythe Clown,
weaing a hea\'y r\rcightbelt and his normal clown attn e, startsoff the night
with a prayerand then launchesinto the dnmatic battlclikeatmospher€.
Heis masterof c€rcmonies,
ringmast€r(directingthe circuslik€ev€nts),and
the battle).Thedancebattlestakeplacein a boxing
ring and unfold in a serlesof ronnds betweenlwo individual_! ]atcled by
e89.!i4!:r44d ge4qgr.Eachrcund lastsapproaimatelytcn to f,fteen seconds;
dancershaveto executethel routine quicklyand efficientl, makingsure
th€y get tq their besi movesb€forethe musicstops lmprovisatoryflareis
The.Dirilo\>eriou.pldyJ. prc\enrin rhe borunBri4Sr\ well ldn cloM\'
pdrl wdrrior\ d"-ncehro'il< rnrpre\tr8eJmonSnval, Idr\. Onedan(eI \rr'
ir a . hair h5rle lhe olhcl perorm\ to the \edledopporenr'dggrer\i\el\
approachinghis or her prey with boastful mov€s of pantomimic intimidation: a flip of the cap,a tug of the shirt, a pop of the collar an expression
of utter disgust,a thrust or pop oI the hips. F€llowcrewmembersof the
competito$ line the ring in support. Atnough dancersare not allow€d to
touch €achother,they g€t as closeasthey can-close enoughto feelthe
breath and sweatof their opponent, closeenough to makesomeonet blood
boil and btun. The dancersitting tdes to be asstoic aspossibl€,maintaining
a stone-cold,d€adpanfacein the midst of the flurry of movementwithin
and aroundthe ring. As the batile warmsup, dancars-menand women
alike-dp off pie€esof their clothinS, inciting a raucousrcaction from the
Dudrg thesemom€nts,the dancebecomesa contestofphysical
analemotional revealing, the ripping and stripplng of clothes a metaphor
for the unveiling of spirit and Iaw emotion ihat krumping demands.who
can get then soul more naked?who cantap that vital flow coursingthrough
the human veins, that divine sparkwithin?
i--- The ring is a resource,rcfuge,and strategyat the crossroadsof adol€scence
of death,of victory and defeai,of
; and adulthood,of roadsof life and roads
i - tu and teritory often at momenis of spiritual ifieclltity me circlecohetes
Ringsform out of necessity,becausethe stakes
ds it is bornout of incohereflce.
crcatea stage,and makea centerwhere
arehigh. They open
there wasnot one beforc.-K!q!tp:99-iaYclio,rll-qr!19!-9!g!48tjs-4g41Sue
re\oon\ero a \pe. li. .Fl ol ( itc!.m!4r', e\-,!or ju\t a pradu(LoIb€}ld\iordl
Diffe.rentmeiaphorsareat work askrumping entersdiflerent kinds
of ringsandcircles.lnihe boxingnng, humping is sportand a.tistlcbattle,
a creative,resistart display of one'sown power and Prowess.In the padded,
ropeal-inworld oI the boxing rinS, young krumpers arc both r/ofectrd and
pemifred to releaseaggressionihrough fiete, comp€titive darc€:4ltholgb
rlTre-md)be\ inor. and lo\er\.lheredoe\ 1ol ne(c*drilyhdvelo bed€\rru'evenr-Krump'ng
.ion.A\ d loru\ol \p:ritpo\ie\\ion
--+\d '.ng5noursryreo
iiielsious ritual. lt is the meansthrough which to biing th€ spirit(s) down'Ihercdrena litiits illsi!1etre.i/./e. As Dngon has said, "Krump is a stateof
being,a mindsetof no boundanes,no lines,no limliations,itlst to b€ hee.
I think it will bnng a lot of people back to Christ and back to what life is
a knd
Black Eyed
in lrhich a
asth€ styles
v€I Ciry Los
Tommy th€
!:nthe inner city
Hip-Hop Ddnft at the Inte(ections of Batt!,, Mectia,ond
Spirit ,
Ktump RisingaboveMd/or into MdinstreamCircles
rtihe ring.sh_out
giresway roporiteapptause.
- Da
The documentary,Rize
is crealitedwith bdnging mainrtream awareness
to the
oancerorm andmovem€nt.Lachapele,a fashlonphotographer
known for
his flashy,gtossystyte,firstsawkrumpingon the s€tofChdstina
musiciideo ,,Dilrty,,and wascompelledto find out more
aboutthe dance
h irh dpotdrvpF!brd,k_d1d_h
jlli tfl.o.:"T"" ,o
h p roordse
rnF rao( wr|\ riot\rrd:pcn(
raa) RodnevKingrior..announ.irgrourtri.r_
rrdra\ lheLruLible-l
Ke\ n,18rorNruTprng,rn,en on anJddvdn,
r.arrdpe c nr\er€\plorF\krumpin8
it. i.rneFLit\
the claim that krnmping is an .,authentic,,art form in direA
opposition tJ
the excessive
mate.ialismand bedazzlingcomm€rciatismof rnainitream
k^mprE r" ,s,h';ro,,,odn ,pd.e.r,ere(d\itrto
d \esrecdrion
rhut brrrk peoptehd\e e\p.,i."..a ni,,o,,,uir,
conrmue to expenenc€even roday around space.Af ihe
beginning of n,ze,
Dragon forcefuliy rcfterares,,,.t.hjsis .ot a trerd. R€peat,
this is not i trend.,;
But rcvolrsagainsrthe mair)stueam
i. with the heaa
be confused
spin ot treit aancing is that
r nd hom e n h d \e h d n \c e n d e ac o mme n i dti \m
ng j 1\i mul l and
y a neErq artistic/ prcactive expreiSonl6rn out of
th€ cleptorabtecon_
clitions of the inner city and an economically viable
commercial enAeavol
tnnscend€nt in its abitity to spiritualty anctmorally
dse above oppression
dnd lir er al l ) tra n \p o fl i \e d . a p ,o te .\i u n dlrou,.
--snce tizewasreleased
in roo5,liGpi1ltlffieiv"a
of m€dia artmtion.jt
u ,ig"in.urrtffi
has be€n featured in Missy flliot,s video;,I,m Realty
Blac}EyedPeas,video ,,HeyMama,,,and Madonna,smusic
videos,,Hu;g Up,,
drd'solry. Fcmdlplrumpej
Vi.\ I|s\ i\ rcporedly
u irh rdppe.fh\
uare.( olrnt,p$video\hd\etuoppeo
up^n krumpilSbdhte\.
in which a cr€w of krumperstak€son a crew of b.eak_dan€€$.
vicleos,which br€ak down specificmoves and sges, may
be ordered from
the Internet_(Of coun€, such videosb€comeobsolet€in the
btink of an eye
asthe styleschangeon a daity basis).The DebbyAI€n Dance
Srudioin C;l_
v€I Ciry Los Angeles,offers krumping classesand hosts krump
To1rmylhecrown Robn D. G. Ket,cy
$ffr\ rhdl..ihee\pto\ronot inte,e.L
beeavl)Ji\ot.eirrromrh. mrrrerprd.escrFdfly
ll :1"-,.""1:',".-i".'
!on.mpnial fingi.L-umtin€be(omc\ .onmoaiq lhdl (dn
be boulhr
I H R I \ l l \ a Z A \ ' AL \A
;l:lIl"liiirif ill,'J#
t'-1trli:1il}frJ;l:J;Xfi;;;;;:;ii'"''.hoe :n:1:::
t], 5-i
ffi iifi'il[j]i*mPdan'(e's
uithin conmercidlism
rn Mogi'ol co*^o'lity: spintl&tlity
Hip-Ilop Dn ce ntthe lttesectio s afBattle, Media, d d Stitit
rai ir
f cul-
€s of
n the
status ev€n whcn they arc immensely poPular, as if th€y are telling a dif'
fereni tal€. Hip-hop culture still gives the appearanccof marginality and
lidinalit, an appearancebasedon a discouragingrcallty that manyyoung
hip:boi follo$'ers do not €nioy in the bcnefits of "mainstream" life lor
'aiilts lling lting overindtlgenc€ and absurd parodt hip-hop maintains a
serlousand almost ominous quality Th€ double voice or double vision ot
hip-hop usesflashine$ and material goods to rnask a dctper stinggle that
is moral and spiritual. lt usespla]' and competfion io mask and transtorm
pain into prestigeand pleasuleConsumer capitalism also deilies hip hop starsand rap music as charis_ _
matic, quasi-religious forces in Anerjcan ctdture Ronald Radano states, "Th€ l
lnitial magic of the commodity'slave' creating its on?npossessionto assed,
a basicfreedomtakesmodern form jn the interplay of btack music with th€,ri
magical powers of mechanical rcproduction and consumer capitalisrru/'37The
spidtual and ritual €vents in hip-hop are ext€nded and enhanced by main
stream media. Hip hop may be on€ ofthose "modern formy'Radano refers
to; its statusascommodity and ts fomidabt€ selling potential 'text ure the
very flesh" of the hip-hop subject with "the mark of capitalist exchan8e,"
textures it with th€ "magic of the commodity "rs Gl!E, speaksto the paF
ticular ryay commodities li4k melanin, mclnory, mlth, and qagic: "Similar
investments in the magic of black vitality are associatedwith the views oithe
boqy;s gt!4rffalion ofiajerised tailicularity that !r4vetalen loot inside
t les
dl) to
Epitomizing the experienceofblack
the Uack communities thenrselves."3e
expr€ssiveh€edom for many youth, hip-hop is oft€n linked to a particutar
tt?e of transc€ndenceiits artistic othemessbecomesalnost otheMorldly
racializations around
the black body that alrcady edst in commercial oedia (e g, MTV, BF,T,and
- -
Rdibodtlto Spitit
Fruitful Darkness:HiP-Hop'sUnderground
I alin
No tlra*s to the slaveholdernorto sLaverlthat the vivaciors.aptite
sometimes danccs in his chains; his very mnrd i! such .ir.umstances
standsDeforcGod as an accnsinSanSel
lrederi.k Do!8la$, "SPecchon Ameri.an Slavery" i85o'u
musicindustrytendsto reducehip'hop to a shal_
Althoughthe commercial
youth occupt its sa'
low glorif,cationof the liminality many dispossess€d
to live out the
credfunctionis to mediatetbe Perplexityof the in-b€tw€en,
Offerilg up a mdsical, meaningful, and €cstadc fram€work thmugh which
lo er per ien (e l i l r. h ro -h o p rl l o h ' .re n eh .o' dhcl l pnP h(dl l ) i n mul t ioB lim ind l i l l c \ J n d u n (e i l d rn ti e \.rrK u m p dd1.er\ l o\e .1em\cl ve\i n l he
s€nsuolq!€is bf,temporal and physical play-4the play of beats, th€ play of
m ov em enr d
. n d .' r:ep .d \ o i re d l a rd rn e d w h i l e ( oni ronLrngl he di l ri fl i
ties oI their €veryday 1ive6.Paradoxicallt it is the pain and th€ strnggle thar
allow them to ds€. They acknowledge that they are p-oliti.izedsuljects and
yet do not allow that €xiemally imposed constructlon to limit theh artistlc
and spiritxal vision. Th€y recoSnizethat there-are
in krumping,then,
within the cilclec) of
;encompassingthe pleasuein the pain, the tragedyin the
comedt the moralpovertyof mat€rialwealth,the spiritualdcbesavailatle
in uiter despondency,and the capacityfor ecstasywithin Liminality.Paradox
approximatesthe extremity of life that is too djmcult to descnbe.And art,
that paridox.
AsrMi!'haelEricDysonstat€s,"Hip-hopreachesout and speaksto that
8. sally
person in pain, in suffering, facing death, who r€achesout to somethin€
! rerre,-whei hFr I hd I he (,od .' \Di, i | | o_k!]All9!3!-$sJaa.e).rh4^\{.o_rr?6i;.eiffi
|d, r em pllodeh u m a n rz e l .\" ' l l d .l .!u l a r1 4 tr? i ;pi rdl i \l dndrFl i gi ods.pi ri l
bfttal and human way. To borrow a song title trom Aretha liantlln-the
"Queen of Soul"-krumping pulls down the "Spidt in th€ Dark."rr lt dances
into broaderfie1dsof possibiliiiesand potentials,reclaimingpublic spaceand
acquiring multipl€ meaningsasit €ntersnew ings of culture and power.
7. |nntz FaDan,1he wtet hedoftfte tdf& (New Yorl( Grove Pres, 196r,57.
2. Ronald Radano, Ilrg U, d Natian: Adce an.l Bidck MLsj. (ChicaSo: Unive6ity of
Chicago Pres, 2odq)y 54. Radano then expands on the miversal imporrance of the
cir.le: "Beyond the AJrican conelates desc bed 4bove, we 6nd in the historical rccord
simild con6glraiior$ in which circuhnty signifies tangible lorms ol coheiencc, ftom
the.ncles of hell through wbich Dant€ and Vilgil proceededto the Pamee nest flgure in Native Ameican symbolisd; ftom tlr celestial wheel of Hjndu cosmography
to Aristotle's 'unmoved movet' who generatesthe cirolar pcrfe.tion ol heavenly
spheres and in turn subhnai motion." For qamples of the $'ay thc rinS shout has
been theodzcd in scholarship on Afncan Am€rican mtsic and culture, see Sterling
Stucley, srrrc Crlfrrci Ndfio nalist lheory ahd the Foufl.lltians of Black Anencd lNew
Yoik oxlbrd Univesity he$, re87), and samuel lloyd Jt., me lowi al Black Mttsk:
Intcrl)rctiry lts Hinory fron Alnca b the Utited Statrs Qnew York Oxfor.l Univebity
3. Radano, tl,jr8 ut, d Ndtor, ss.
Ii Right," MTv,
xrgh which
\'' in multne play of
heir artistic
El no li4-i.tsv
ng, then/ i51
Sedyin the I
ihl Parad;; l
)e. l"A urt, /
Lrklin the
tese.tions of Btjftte, Media, and Spitit
s.\ally Bmts and John L Szwed,,,,MessinAound, to ,FunkyWesternCjvilization,:
-. l\ ednd f dll ol DdnLe 1. . 1. . o ^ \ o , g . .
I t t d , Ln a i a n t D \ 4 . , t \ o v o t t o d :. n
qnan an Dr 4, , . pa | | i r d. . D F tI r , t / . V o o . o n :
' ) t n,r h
I Lrpr.r \ ot \A,.on,i.
r o\ or . s . ( qt \ o \ r , , n8 \ r , . " \ r i o d r . r . r e r i n s , t
r F r er or . \ . ion in' . hr \
,nd.r .i to ..8. o, n
- ,j,n, i,""....ri .n,D
; " , , . r 4" ; ;
Md,y Dntns, +.
6. S€€Victor nrrn€r, Tre Ritunl tu0.6s: sh1rcturcntuj,4rrlst'ra./,.e
lchicago: Uni\esity of Chiclgo Fre$, 19691.
and lletwecn:
in Rites ol lassase.,,
in R a. 1,t in, oapaaf i , / R.1i34f, t 4 4 n , t , p , a r i . r l A p l \ o a h
*. , ^ , , "
i i.
wor L:.l d p . a t o s . r o .o 2
R. \ ol, v Bdnp\ ' Bledf in. - , / . , r . , / , ; / o 1 , . / . t t , . H u ) - L t p d , d : t . B " d r a , ? d t l L t a \
ronnnd, dVdr Anr hor ' \ . r ,
\ .R . o - r : R ,
rrten8e oo4/;
. ', . r
\it c r lNi r i o r on r h- hi\ r o. \ d, d. r t i l . . t i n , . , ! p . o . b r e r t
o",. rs dr d rr o-n.o
Jd-.c ". .,s. ie.r.ov,Lt.!-rbL,,n.,rrrertln-: u.Ir,.,#i:,,."e.
/r,d Don"c. Ddq,pIn
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shovinS, junpiig, and bumping iato other peoPle nr the circular pit.
rn Xizf, the juxtaposition of archival footage from a baditional Aiiican (Nuba)
dane ritual rcveals the remarlable sioilarity between Aftican danc€ foms md kumP_
in8 in style, movoent, and tunctioF, In both contexts, the dancers paint their taces
' ro deate mask, anange themselves in circle fomations, and achieve treceliNe states
Their movements apped violent aDrlagSrersive at times, but no real llShnnS occu$,
dd both scenescontain moments ofboastflrl, moie conholled PostuinS (Strdgely,
the scene featuies AJro-Cuban ,afd drumoing instead of thc music they noimally
dance to.) No conimentary is made about the pailin8 of these two practicesi the audi
ence is fored to intuit the.onnection between Afii.a and South Cenhal, the tribal
and the urban. the anoent and the modein,
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2s. Mi1k, a well-known caucasian ktump dancs, Performed at the Baftle zone in
26. To refer to t1r€ masked meanings in black muric, MarL Anthony Neal botows
t}]e lltm htldn tanctiPt ttom ]ames C. Scotl Dotmdlion dnd thc Ans of Acsistdn.e:
Hiddeh 'rtdflrnpb (New Halen, cT: Yale Unlversity Prcss, r992)i ],laLAnrhary
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from the liminal phase in Nderbu ritral, victor'lumer introduced the tem "limi
noid" to denote the quasi-liminal chaiacter of cultu.l performmces, entertainment,
an.l lcisure activities in industial societyi Victor Turner, "liminal to Limiroid in Ua,
Iloq and tutuali An lssayin Comparativ€ Sydbolo8y," ,( ice Un isj+ Shtdjrs6o, no 3
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liminoid, as enstential situations, oicn onto a "realm of primitivc hypothesis" that
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and knowledge, with a FdaSogi. intention"i Tuder, "Befivixt and Between/ 24r'
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3r, (irk Frmllin is one of the pionees of the gospel rap style, which developed
in rhe early r99os in conjun.tion with the ino€asing popllarity ol contemPorary
Christian music md the comm€rcial successof hn 1997 hit "StomP " (lidkliD's 2oo5
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Example of Unit Materials for DCE 202 Dance in US Popular Culture
PART II: 1910s-1940s
Unit 4: Depression Era Dance Marathons, Swing: The
Savoy and Lindy Hop (1920/30s-1940s)
Welcome to Part II: Unit 4!
Unit # 4 Objectives
Describe the social conditions that produced the Depression Era Dance
Debate the spectacle of the Dance Marathon as theatre and/or reality
Detail the socio-historical importance of the Savoy
Describe how the Lindy Hop helped re-define and critique gender and racial
characterizations at the Savoy
Identify eras of popular dances at the Savoy and the conditions under which
the Savoy closed.
Identify the Zoot Suit fashions and Investigate the Zoot Suit Riots
Unit # 4 Introductions
The Depression and Dance Marathons
In 1929 the stock market crash brought about a worldwide depression. The country
saw drastic shifting in economic and social realities, which can be seen in dances
and attitudes about dance during this era. In this Unit we will cover the Depression
Era through the end of WWII and talk about major shifts in the social realities of the
day that shaped dance in popular culture. As we discussed in the introduction to the
class, this semester will not attempt to cover a complete history, instead snapshots
through which we can gain insight to some of the dances and the times.
As we move out of the “raging twenties” and into the Depression Era of the 1930s,
we see a time of high unemployment when many people lost their homes or farms
and became dependent on bread lines and government food relief to survive. Having
a great deal of time on their hands, many people spent long days listening to the
radio and maybe if they could afford it, going to the theatre. Others attended or
entered Dance Marathons that were in many ways quite similar to such
contemporary shows as American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. These
marathons, like today’s television shows served as entertainment that traversed the
boundaries of theatre and reality. The Dance Marathons attracted both unemployed
and often vulnerable people with time on their hands, who were desperate for the
opportunity to make money. In one of your essays for this Unit, “Reality Dance:
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American Dance Marathons,” you will read about the Marathons. In other contexts
dancing served as a diversion from the desperate circumstances of everyday life.
Lindy Hop 1940s
As the 1940s began, the country was still reeling from the effects of the Depression.
However, when the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on
December 7, 1941 and the U.S. was thrust into war with Germany and Japan, the
vigor of the war effort brought an end to the Depression. Under a perceived threat
the government mandated “blackouts” and enacted mandatory “relocation” of
Japanese American people to “Interment” camps through 1944. When they returned
to their homes and businesses most found that they had lost everything.
The war became the engine that brought the U.S. out of the Depression. Unemployed
were suddenly in high demand for both the material production efforts of war as
well as the need for soldiers. There were shortages for basic necessities and a
rationing system was introduced to buy such things as gasoline, tea, sugar, butter,
meats, and other foods. In part because materials could not be purchased freely,
people had an increased income for entertainment, which included going to movies,
dancing, and going to nightclubs. It was in this atmosphere that the Lindy Hop
flourished and was renowned especially at the opulent Savoy Ballroom in New York.
The Savoy: Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and Swing
The Savoy Ballroom was promoted for a time as “The Home of Happy Feet.” It was
open for 33 years, from 1926-1958, in the center of Harlem. Owned by two white
businessmen Moe Gale and Jay Faggen, and managed by an African American man,
Charles Buchanan, the Savoy was one of the first racially integrated public places in
the country. It was a successful business that acted as a seedbed in the development
of music and dance. It was famous worldwide. The top bands played at the Savoy,
including Chick Webb and his orchestra, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Benny
As the title, “Negotiating Compromise on a Burnished Wood Floor: Social Dancing at
the Savoy,” of the second article you will read for this Unit suggests, although the
Savoy was site of powerful artistic, musical, aesthetic, social and political force, it
was a also a contested site with competing investments and interests. In addition to
reading this article, please spend time watching the videos for this Unit, as well as
browsing the web pages below for more information on the Savoy. Allow the visual,
textual and musical impressions to inform your understanding of the Savoy dance
floor as a place that catalyzed innovation and social change.
• http://www.savoyplaque.org/about_savoy.htm
• http://www.savoyplaque.org/timeline.htm
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Cab Calloway, the original “hepster,” The Zoot Suit, and the Zuit Suit Riots
Youth culture of the 1940s popularized swing music, dancing, as well as the
fashionable, Zoot Suit and hepster lingo. Cab Calloway, a famous bandleader whose
credits included playing the Savoy, coined the phrase dancing “like a frenzy of
jittering bugs” to describe some Lindy Hop dancers. In 1938 he published Cab
Calloway’s Hepster Dictionary: The Language of Jive, and popularized such phrases as
“hepcat,” “daddy-o,” “cutting a rug” and “Zoot suit,” to describe a popular form of
dress at the time.
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Wearing a Zoot Suit was popular primarily among African American and Latino
American youth at this time and enacted a political statement, for several reasons.
The official argument against the Zoot Suit was that the government’s war effort
demanded rationing of necessities including the copious amounts of fabric it took to
make a Zoot Suit. This official stance, however, also veiled intense racial
discrimination faced by African American and Latino American youth at this time.
Regarding the Zoot Suit, PBS’s American Experience website stated, “The oversized
suit was both an outrageous style and a statement of defiance. Zoot suiters asserted
themselves, at a time when fabric was being rationed for the war effort, and in the
face of widespread discrimination”
(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/eng_sfeature/sf_zoot_text.html). In 1943
Los Angeles erupted into the worst race riots it had ever seen. After ten nights
many Anglo servicemen and young Mexican American Zoot Suiters, nicknamed
“Pachucos,” were hospitalized. PBS has a full length documentary on this, which I
highly recommend; however for purposes of this class you are only responsible to
read the film description at the following website:
Unit # 4
Questions for Consideration
After reading the Lesson Introductions and online material, please watch the videos
and read your text. As you do so, please make your own notes as well as notes
referring to the following questions for consideration, which will help catalyze
critical thinking about this rich time period we are covering in this Unit.
1. How and where did depression era dancing serve a socio-economic purpose?
Do you see similarities anywhere in US popular culture today? Ground your
comments about today in your specific links to the depression era.
2. Do you think it is significant that one of the first racially integrated public
venues was a dance hall? Why or Why not?
3. Compare how the stories of the Savoy are told across the websites, the video
clips “The Savoy King,” “Chick Webb,” and other videos, and the article you
read in your text. Be the critical historian, from the various stories and
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glimpses you have gotten from the Savoy, explain what you think is most
significant in these stories and why. Be specific. Cite your sources.
4. Please “read” the Lindy Hop as a social commentary about its time. Include
how it either reflected, challenged, and/or (re)produced the values of the
society. Be specific. Do reference specific observations regarding the
physicality of the dances in your answer. You might reference examples from
the “Savoy Routines,” the “Big Apple Dances” video clips, or others. Pay
attention to gender and racial dynamics.
5. The narrator who introduces the “Savoy Champions” video clip states that
the Lindy incorporates all styles from Charleston to Blues. She notes that the
character of jazz dance (including the Lindy) is that dancers do not dance in
unison necessarily, but instead in response to the music and each other.
Dancers often “answer” the music as if another instrument in the orchestra.
This structure is an Africanist aesthetic known as “Call and Response.” Dizzy
Gillespie and other Savoy musicians and dancers engaged in a call and
After watching the videos, answer this question. What did the structure of
call and response allow for, both physically and in terms of upholding or
challenging such conventional forms of dancing that evolved from Ballroom?
(For an example of ballroom aesthetics watch the video clip “Romantic
Dances,” “Slow Dances,” or “Veloz and Yolanda” ).
6. In the classic text on Jazz Dance by Stearns and Stearns, they say “the Lindy is
a fundamental approach, not an isolated step…The Lindy caused a general
revolution in the popular dance of the United States” (329). 1. Describe this
revolution. 2.Explain how that revolution is relevant in dance in popular
culture today. Remember we are talking about the approach not the “steps.”
7. On America Dances! “Big Apple Dances,” pay attention to how the two white
narrators introduce the dances, which are demonstrated by two African
American men. Watch the contrasting aesthetics of bodily comportment
demonstrated throughout the rest of the video clips and then compare them
(Be sure to reference George-Graves discussion of this on pg. 63). As an
addendum, please briefly note: Why do you think these dances were not
demonstrated by a man and a woman in this context? What commentary
might this make about identities and cultural power/disenfranchisement?
8. Do you think wearing a Zoot suit in the 1930s and 1940s could be considered
a political statement? Why? How? Reference the PBS website in your
PART II: 1910s-1940
Unit # 4: Depression Era Dance Marathons, Swing: The
Savoy and Lindy Hop (1920/30s-1940s)
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Assigned Reading
“Reality Dance/ American Dance Marathons” by Carol Martin. (93-107)
“Negotiating Compromise on a Burnished Wood Floor/ Social Dancing at the
Savoy” by Karen Hubbard and Terry Monaghan. (126-142)
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PART II: 1910s-1940
Unit # 4: Depression Era Dance Marathons, Swing: The
Savoy and Lindy Hop (1920/30s-1940s)
Assigned Video
America Dances!:
Big Apple Dances
Dance Marathons
Lindy Hop
Lindy Hop in Choreography
Lindy Hop Jitterbug Contest
The Savoy King: Savoy Ballroom Vignette
Chick Webb (Savoy)
Veloz & Yolanda Perform Early Dance Fads (1943)
Recommended NOT required
Romantic Dances
Slow Dances
Dance ‘Til You Drop: Dance Marathons of 1930’s & 1940’s
Dance Marathon 1931
Lindy Hop- Hellzapoppin (1941).
Hellzapoppin' (1941) Ending Conga Sequence "Conga Beso" - Jane Frazee,
Martha Raye, & The Six Hits
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Discussion Board Unit # 4
Unit 4: TOPIC 5: Aesthetics and Politics
In this unit we discuss youth culture of the depression era and how Lindy Hop
provided a social outlet for youth of various racial, ethnic and class affiliations. We
also read about the Zoot Suits that were fashionable in youth culture and how they
performed and asserted identity. Aesthetic preferences and pleasure in dance,
performance, and fashion are all cultural manifestations of a specific time, place and
social group. They are also all political. (Please refer to George-Graves discussion of
hegemony, p. 66).
From this time period, 1930s-1940s, please choose a dance, a fashion (such as the
Zoot Suit), an historical event, or a language style (such as Cab Calloway’s hepster
lingo) and examine and explain how it is political.
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